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Operationalization Of New Cities Hangs In Balance After Being Excluded From 2020/21 Budget

Fort Portal is set to be upgraded to city status/online photo

The proposal to create 15 new cities hangs in balance since their funding is not reflected in the approved Shs45.5 trillion 2020/21 budget.

This has left a section of MPs wondering where Government will get funds to operationalize the new cities in question.

The proposed cities include Fort Portal, Gulu, Mbarara, Jinja , Arua, Masaka and Mbale set to commence in July 2020, Hoima for 2021,Entebbe and Lira for 2022 while Nakasongola,  Moroto, Soroti, Wakiso and Kabale will commence operations in July 2023.

This week, Parliament is set to settle the controversy surrounding boundary demarcation of some of the new cities in line with  Article 179(1) of the Constitution.

Amos Lugolobi, the Chairperson of the Budget Committee is one of the MPs questioning  the source of funds for establishment and maintenance of the proposed cities when they were not catered in 2020/21 budget allocation, with 72% of the budget funds set to be borrowed.

Lugolobi said that the  government should avail parliament with the financial analysis of the implications of creating these cities.

He said that the creation of the new cities should have been postponed and considered after ascertaining the trend COVID-19 is taking.

“… we might go to vote but I think there’s a very big risk. In my view, we would have postponed this idea and maybe re-consider it after we have ascertained the trend COVID-19 is taking for this country and the economy at large,” Lugolobi, who is the Ntenjeru North MP, said.

Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga, the Mukono South lawmaker and Mwine Mpaka, the Youth MP  for  Western Region said that though there is no budget allocation for the new cities, they are desired since they create some jobs to Ugandans.

“It is shocking that the budget which we have just passed doesn’t capture new cities yet we have been talking about them for a long time,” Muyanja said, adding that it would look awkward to starting adding supplementary budgets to the budget even before it is read.

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