By Moses Mulondo & Moses Walubiri
Parliament has unanimously passed a proposal from the finance committee which requires government to immediately embark on creation another city to decongest Kampala.
The House took the decision while considering the second five year National Development Plan (NDP) which will be implemented from 215/2016 financial year to the 2020/2021 financial year.
The decision parliament made on Thursday implies that government has to implement it between this year and 2021 since it is part of the 2015-2021 NDPII.
In an exclusive interview with The New Vision Friday, the finance committee vice chairman Anthony Okello who presented the report said, “The committee did not propose where the administrative city should be but personally I would propose Nakasongola because of its central location.”
Giving more details on the background of the proposal, Okello said, “We realized that developing the highly congested Kampala both as a commercial city and an administrative city would be very expensive because it would require to carry out a lot of demolitions. That is why we opted for a new area where proper physical planning can be done.”
Previous governments and the NRM government have in the past proposed relocating the capital city to Nakasongola which is in the center of Uganda for easy accessibility by all the regions in the country.
Nakasongola is also close to the Kiryandongo district where the mega 600megawatts Karuma hydro power project is being constricted and it is also close to the oil region of Bunyoro.
In Vision 2040, government proposed four regional cities to be established and these include Arua, Gulu, Mbale, and Mbarara and five strategic cities which include Hoima (oil), Nakasongola (industrial), Fort Portal (tourism), Moroto (mining), and Jinja (industrial).
Considering that Kampala population has drastically increased to over 2million people causing overcrowding and traffic congestion, parliament resolved that government expedites the implementation of Kampala Metropolitan Authority to expand the city into some parts of Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi, and Luwero.
“The committee further recommends that government urgently establishes an administrative city away from Kampala the way Nigeria created Abuja and Malysia created Putrajaya,” said Okello.
Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante said, “I commend the committee for the proposal for an administrative city.
Everything is now concentrated in Kampala and that is why the city is over congested. Kampala small traders are now suffering because of congestion created by government’s poor planning.”
Buvuma MP Robert Migadde said, “We don’t see deliberate efforts to plan for urbanization. Kampala is too congested. We need to immediately create a new capital city and Kampala remains a commercial city.”
Kawempe South MP Latif Ssebagala said, “We need to put our party colours aside when it comes to development. We cannot develop Kampala without encroaching on neighbouring districts. We need to urgently embark on the creation of an administrative city and leave Kampala as a commercial city.”
The state minister for finance David Bahati promised that the executive will incorporate the proposal for the administrative city and other proposals parliament made in the final copy of the 2015-2020 development plan which the President will launch on June 11, 2015.
Cautioning Bahati to ensure that all the proposals parliament has made are incorporated in the plan, the speaker Rebecca Kadaga said parliament considered his promise as government assurance for which the executive will be held accountable.