Government is effective July 1 set to elevate Fort Portal, Mbarara, Hoima, Lira, Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja and Entebbe municipalities to cities, supposedly to promote regional development.
The Vision 2040 recommendation to create the new cities is to decongest Kampala, the commissioner in-charge of Urban Planning, Mr Justin Niwagaba, said last week.
According to the Local Government Act, a municipality must have a population of at least 500,000, have facilities, institutions, developments and an enabling environment that attract people to work, invest and stay there.
The private sector must also offer services to support the growing city and its population, among others.
According to Mr Niwagaba, Arua, Mbarara, Gulu and Mbale will be regional cities while others will be strategic cities; Fort Portal (tourism), Jinja (industrial), Lira (industrial) and Hoima (oil).
Nakasongola and Moroto have been differed because their planning requires a different model where basic amenities must be put in place in order to attract dwellers.
Fort Portal tourism city
A fortnight ago, Kabarole District Council approved the proposed Fort Portal tourism city after resolving to annex other lower administrative units as it gears up for the long awaited city status.
Parts of the district annexed to the proposed tourism city include Karago Town Council and Ibaale Parish from Busoro and Karambi sub-counties.
Others include Kiko, Mugusu and Kasenda town councils and Kasenda, Ruteete, Mugusu and Karagura sub-counties. These are endowed with tourism sites such as crater lakes.
The proposed city will have two divisions; one will cover the present East and South divisions, Ibaale Parish, Rubigo Parish and Karambi Sub-county, while the other will cover the present West Division, Karago Town Council, Bukuuku Sub-county and Butebe Parish.
Currently, Fort Portal has West, East and South divisions, covering about 40 square kilometers against the required 120 square kilometers, according to the mayor, the Rev Kintu Muhanga. The 2014 national census put the town population at 54,275.
The urban authority in 2016 launched a campaign of planting one million trees with the aim of creating a forest city by 2025.
Credit: Daily Monitor