URBANIZATION RATE WORRIES UGANDA AUTHORITIES, CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF WORLD BANK USMID PROGRAM

“World Bank does not just give money to a sector since the Financial Agreement is always fixed. You have to compete with other sectors like Education and Health. If you want USMID II, then start having dialogue with the Ministry of Finance NOW. You should know the rule of the game”.  

Acholi traditional Royal Dance, Dwola dancers welcome USMID delegates and World Bank officials to Gulu, May 18, 2016.

GULU-UGANDA: Uganda’s outgoing minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Daudi Migereko, has expressed worry that the rate of urbanization in Uganda is so high that it does not match with infrastructure developments to meet the needs of town dwellers.

Minister Migereko revealed that people are migrating from rural to urban centers at the rate of 18% (percent) and if nothing is done now to plan for this phenomenon, then Uganda’s urban centers will not be “livable towns”.

“Currently urbanization in Uganda is about 18% (percent) and if deliberate strategies are not put in place to deal with the rate of urbanization our urban areas will soon not be livable towns”. He said.

The minister made the remark while opening a two-day Mid Term Review (MTR) workshop of World Bank funded “Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Program on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 from Bomah Hotel in Gulu Municipality.

USMID Program is an IDA US$150 million credit funded by the Government of Uganda and the World Bank. It is a five year Program ( March 2013- December 2018) being implemented in 14 out of the 22 municipalities in the country which represent regional balance and are growing faster that Kampala Capital City.

Uganda has a population of 39.4 million people and some of these 14 municipalities are waiting to be elevated to city statuses. However, many of them are faced with challenges of poor road and building infrastructures to cope with the global challenge of urbanization.

“Urban centers are the face of Uganda. Anybody who comes to Uganda would like to know how the towns are. Facilities like water and sanitation, housing, roads and lighting are important in towns” He said.

Minister Migereko praised Gulu Municipal for emerging the first among the 14 municipalities in implementing the program which won the municipality some rewards with extra road work in phase two of the program. Under this phase one program, Gulu upgraded a total of 3.638 kilometers of road network at a total cost of US$4,986,358. It has been rewarded with work on ten other roads.

“The Program for Result (PforR) Financing Instrument where the level of funding is pegged to assessed performance is a good tool that enhances performance at Local governments and also facilitates capacity building since the inherent competition amongst Local governments leads to capacity building. If there are no results, there will be no rewards. Nothing will follow”. He said.

The chairman of Gulu district Local government, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, thanked the World Bank for choosing Gulu to host the Mid Term Review workshop. He praised the good working relationship between the district and municipality.

“The district cannot afford to leave the Municipality alone. We have a unique way of working together. We have a solid team”. The district chairman said. He appealed for USMID II.

“With the support the World Bank is giving to the Government of Uganda, the face of Gulu Municipal Council has changed. Security has changed for the better and there is now safety and there are lots of business opportunities. We need USMID II”. He said.

An official of the World Bank who attended the workshop, Mr. Martin Onyach-Olaa, explained that the Bank deals directly with government priorities through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and that if the Municipalities want USMID II, then it is up to them to convince government now.

“World Bank does not just give money to a sector since the Financial Agreement is always fixed. You have to compete with other sectors like Education and Health. If you want USMID II, then start having dialogue with the Ministry of Finance NOW. You should know the rule of the game”. He advised.

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