The transformation of Jinja Municipality into a “strategic industrial city” as projected under the $200 billion Uganda Vision 2040 should start now, the area Mayor Muhammad Baswari Kezaala has said.
“Instead of waiting, the implementation should begin now and move progressively,” Mr Kezaala said.
The Uganda Vision 2040 that was launched by President Yoweri Museveni last week lists Jinja, Hoima, Nakasongola and Fort Portal as the 4 strategic cities to be developed.
Since July 2006 when Jinja marked 50 years as a municipality and 100 years as a town, local leaders have been agitating for the elevation of the town to city status.
The government says Jinja can be declared a city only if it has capacity to meet the cost of service delivery, enough water sources, having a master plan and having a population of at least 500,000 people at night.
“Government does not consider the municipality’s day time population, but if it had done so, we would by now be a city,” he said on Tuesday.
The government wants to turn Jinja and Nakasongola into industrial cities, Hoima into a gas and oil city while Fort Portal would be transformed into a tourism city.
Listing some of the advantages that the town has, Mr Kezaala said that it is on a highway, has an airstrip, a bus park, a taxi park, a regional referral hospital and many private medical facilities.
He said Jinja and the Swedish City of Skelleftea recently launched a Shs3 billion project aimed at beautifying the town. This will see the town’s main street redesigned and up to 66 private buildings painted. This, he said, should make government’s work easier.
Jinja Municipality covers an area of 11.5 square miles (28 Square Kilometers) and it is home to Nalubaale and Bujagali power dams.