Yesterday, Parliament voted for the creation of 15 new cities in the country.
The cities to be created over four years are Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka, Mbale, Arua, Gulu, Hoima, Lira ,Soroti, Entebbe, Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso.
312 out of 313 members of parliament who were present voted in favour of the motion and only one was against it.
Only Sarah Opendi from Tororo voted against the motion, saying that the recent budget that was passed by parliament for FY 2020/21 does not fully address the demands of some of the Local governments, Districts and Municipalities.
Sarah Opendi who is the Minister of state for Mineral Development stated that it’s not right for Parliament to consider creation of new cities without first knowing the economic implication of Covid-19.
Opendi wanted consideration of the approval of these cities wait until the minister of finance present a statement on the status of the economy as the country is facing COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that the budget that was passed by Parliament does not fully address the demands of some of the local governments, town councils and sub counties.
Cities which shall take effect on 1st July 2020 include; Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Fortportal, Mbale and Masaka.
Hoima, Soroti and Lira shall take effect on 1st July 2021.
Entebbe shall take effect on 1st July 2022.
Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso Cities shall take effect on 1st July 2023.
It’s estimated that about Shs130b will be budgeted for the operation of these cities.
Busiro East MP Merdad sseggona plea for Wakiso and Entebbe cities to be operational in 2022 instead of Wakiso being in 2023 was rejected.