Cabinet has approved the creation of 9 new cities across the country which will be implemented in a phased approach.
The decision was taken on Monday during the weekly Cabinet sitting held at State House Entebbe.
The first phase of the new cities will include Arua, Mbarara, Gulu, Jinja, Fort Portal and will take effect on July 1, 2020. This will be followed in July 2021 by other new cities of Mbale and Hoima.
In July 2022, other towns of Lira and Entebbe will also be elevated to city status.
Cabinet noted that the creation of these cities will increase urban infrastruuctre services like tarmac roads, improved waste management, water services, effective and efficient pysical development and planning and implementation.
It will also increase local revenue and government fiscal transfers including increase in employment levels. Government also says new cities will facilitate uniform and harmonized growth and development and avoid organic growth of towns.
The plan by government to elevate some of the existing municipalities to cities has been pending for many years now.
Initially, the plan had been hampered by the lack of an appropriate Urban Policy. As back as 2015, the proposal was to have Jinja, Mbale, Arua, Mbarara and Gulu elevated to city status.
According to Section 3 of the Local Government Act, a city shall be equivalent to a district and a city council shall exercise all functions and powers conferred upon a district.
The same Section adds that “A division shall be equivalent to a sub-county and shall exercise all relevant functions and powers conferred upon a sub-county”.