The Global Green Growth Institute has launched its approved Physical Development Plans (PDP) for Gulu City, as endorsed by the National Physical Planning Board (NPPB).
The approval, granted on August 17, 2023, for the new cities of Gulu and Arua, aims to support infrastructure development in both cities.
Initial consultations for the physical development plan commenced in March 2021, prompted by emerging development challenges. Deeper discussions were carried out at the ward and village levels within the communities.
Godfrey Bwebukya Kisekka, the City Clerk of Gulu, in his welcoming remarks, commended GGGI and the Ministry of Land for their guidance in formulating the city’s development plan. He emphasized that a city without a physical development plan experiences local confusion, a problem they have faced in the country.
He further mentioned that creating a physical development plan for a city is straightforward, but the challenge lies in implementation due to issues with the land tenure system.
“As Gulu City, we appreciate everyone who has assisted us in creating this plan,” he added. “Not many cities or municipalities have such a physical development plan, and we are fortunate. The task at hand is to ensure that Gulu doesn’t become a slum.”
Bwebukya identified potential challenges during plan implementation, including negative politics and poorly maintained roads. He stressed the importance of engaging the community early in decisions, especially regarding road pavement construction, as the community is cooperative when involved from the outset.
Bwebukya pledged to continue community engagement and ensure the plan’s successful implementation. He also criticized staff for corruption and political pressure.
“If we can address these two issues—personal interests and political pressures—we will be fully committed to implementing the plan and upholding the trust placed in us by the community and the funding provided by the Ministry,” he urged.
Agnes Oyella, Senior Physical Planner for Gulu City, explained that the Physical Development Plan aligns with the city’s vision. She emphasized that the plan addresses industrialization and climate change while focusing on climate resilience and equitable resource allocation.
“This plan, when implemented, will take into account our current challenges, climate change, the resilience of our people, and the fair distribution of resources for plan execution,” she added.
Meanwhile, Ronald McGill, the Project Lead, outlined four technical points related to the physical development plan. Initially, Geographic Information System files will be submitted to the Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development, connecting with the Labour Market Information Systems.
He also emphasized the need to launch a major campaign to engage householders and enterprises in taking responsibility for their roles in the city-building process. McGill highlighted that a significant portion of buildings lacks official recognition, and tackling this issue is critical to successful implementation.
Joseph Walter Padde, the Commissioner of Urban Development in the Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development, stated that the approval of these Physical Development Plans signifies improved service delivery. He emphasized the challenges posed by rapid urbanization, climate change, and population growth, underscoring the necessity of a physical development plan for effective city management.
He added that government interventions and projects would be facilitated, and land utilization would improve with these approved plans in place.
Amanda Ngabirano, Chairperson of the National Physical Planning Board, urged the public to comply with the plans rather than opposing them.
Jacky Kemigisha, Commissioner of the Ministry of Local Government, stressed the importance of disseminating, owning, and implementing the plan as part of the council’s mandate.
Christine Olok, Deputy Mayor of Gulu City, expressed appreciation for GGGI and the Ministry’s initiative, considering the launch of the physical development plan as a historic moment. She called for the plan’s embrace by everyone, given the guidelines that accompany city status.
Peter Banya, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner for Laroo Pece Division in Gulu City, encouraged the Gulu City Council to organize a grand launch for the community to witness the event.