By Moses Walubiri
Representatives of the private sector at a consultative meeting of the National 2040 vision have queried government’s rationale of housing all ministries and majority of industries in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA), casting doubts on its plans to decongest the city in its vision tailored to turning Uganda into a middle income country in the next 30 years.
Organized by the National Planning Authority in tandem with the Uganda Chamber of Commerce (UCM), participants from the business community on Thursday highlighted components that they want incorporated in the final Vision 2040 draft.
“Establishing an industrial park at Namanve is going to exacerbate the traffic jam which you seek to solve in your urbanization plan,” UCM’s Peter Iga said, adding, “you cannot solve chronic jam in Kampala when all the ministries are here. Government should take some ministries, big industries and corporations out of Kampala.”
Moses Mulondo, John Kisembo and Patrick Ngogolo, all of UCM, faulted government for encouraging the transfer of industries from Jinja thus compounding Kampala’s traffic jam.
Participants also cast doubt on the feasibility of the Vision on account of corruption and what they deemed wasteful public expenditure.
Drawing on examples of Asian Tigers – Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore – countries that Uganda seeks to benchmark, many participants called upon government to adopt deterrent anti-corruption laws which have made graft a risky venture in such countries.
“We are spending a lot of resources on a big cabinet, parliament districts. Collecting trillions in taxes when it’s being stolen or spent on nonproductive ventures will not help in achieving the vision,” UCM’s Mike Nsereko said.
In an effort to release land for agriculture, Uganda’s Vision 2040 seeks to accelerate urbanization from the current 15% to 60% and the development of four strategic cities in addition to GKMA.
NPA is in the process of drafting a comprehensive 30 year new development plan and its meeting different stakeholders.