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Local Gov’t Ministry Seeks Shs10bn To Relocate Districts From Cities

Raphael Magyezi, the Minister of Local Government

The Local Government Ministry is seeking at least 10 billion Shillings to facilitate the relocation of the mother district headquarters from the boundaries of newly established cities. Raphael Magyezi, the Minister of Local Government, highlighted the necessity of this funding to resolve ongoing disputes between districts and city authorities across the nation.

In July 2020, the government operationalized new regional cities, upgrading traditional municipalities. This transition necessitated boundary expansions, incorporating areas from the mother districts into the newly formed cities. The new cities include Masaka, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Hoima, Arua, and Jinja.

However, controversies have arisen between the cities and the leadership of the mother districts. This friction stems from the Attorney General’s directive, mandating the transfer of immovable assets from the districts to the cities. The directive requires districts to cede their headquarters, relocate to new administrative offices outside the cities, and transfer assets to the new city administrations.

Magyezi mentioned that the Ministry of Local Government is considering allocating at least one billion shillings to each affected mother district to facilitate their re-establishment. He revealed having presented and defended this proposal to the cabinet, awaiting a supplementary budget allocation from parliament. Until the necessary funds are secured, Magyezi stated that the new cities will coexist with their mother districts.

In addition, Magyezi emphasized a warning to leaders in the mother local governments against disposing of land and properties within the boundaries of the new cities. He clarified that such decisions fall under the purview of central authorities and agencies.

Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto, the Masaka LCV Chairperson, opposed the suggestion of surrendering properties, including the district headquarters, to Masaka City without adequate financial compensation. The district council had initiated the process of auctioning affected properties, citing the need to secure funds for relocation, which Magyezi cautioned against.

Peter Ssenkungu, the Masaka district Workers’ representative, conveyed the district’s decision to disregard the Attorney General’s advice instructing the forfeiture of assets to cities, deeming it unreasonable. Ssenkungu urged the government to swiftly allocate funds for reestablishing the mother districts, highlighting their desire to operate without undue pressure and conflicts from city leaders threatening their existence.

-URN

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