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KCCA to number buildings, streets

Recent photo of Kampala Road. KCCA to improve marking of streets and buildings in the city. KCCA PHOTO
Recent photo of Kampala Road. KCCA to improve marking of streets and buildings in the city. KCCA PHOTO

Even for people who have lived in Kampala City all their lives, locating certain buildings in the city leave alone on a street can be a nightmare. Unlike other modern cities around the world, Kampala has very limited building identification signage and do are the city streets.

Now, this is costly in business terms. But this is going to change soon. Kampala Capital City Authority has embarked on a project to identify streets and buildings with names and numbers in an effort geared at boosting trade, service delivery, and security.

KCCA Director Planning Moses Atwine told The Independent on the side-lines of the three-day’s East and Central African Development Forum in Kampala on May 27 that the exercise, which started early this year, involves picking coordinates and other property attributes and uploading them onto the digital system.

Digital exercise part of IDA’s Shs 595 billion Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project

He said they are using Geographical Positioning System (GPS) to pick coordinates and feed them into their system.

“We hope to have every street, road, and building identified with a unique identifying number for anyone to make a reference,”Atwine said. This will ensure that a mere click of a computer mouse, our officers and those of other government agencies will be able to tell the location of the property and the owner. Atwine says the initiative is intended to help KCCA in city administration ranging from crime prevention, and delivery of social services to tax collection.

The implementation of the city addressing system is part of the Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP2), which among others, involves tributary drainage channels in Kampala suburbs and reshaping of some of the road junctions in the city to create a smooth traffic flow. The government, through KCCA, will spend $175 million (about Shs 595 billion) sourced from the International Development Association (IDA) on the entire project.

Doris Akol, the URA commissioner general, also noted that the initiative would help the taxman in revenue collection.

The Authority believes that the implementation of the addressing project in Kampala will also help the Uganda Post Office to take up the initiative and extend the service to the rest of the country. In 2012, the government unveiled a national postal code and address system in Entebbe as a pilot project with a plan to roll it out throughout the country in the subsequent year.

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Even URA’s Akol says her team will benefit from order in the city.

But the plan was shelved on the claim that it was supposed to go in tandem with the rest of the East African countries. Rwanda has been giving numbers and street names in all its major towns since 2010 aiming at not only guiding people but also modernising and making the city smarter. Each district has its own code and naming.

In Kenya, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has started a process to have a nation-wide numbering and addressing system to boost the uptake of trade and improve service delivery. Kenya believes that absence of addresses for homes and small businesses is slowing down the growth of business that relies on timely and efficient delivery of goods to customers.

Doris Akol, the URA commissioner general, also noted that the initiative would help the taxman in revenue collection. Akol said that if there is GPS, will people not only live in an organised environment but the tax body will know it’s client base, trace their activities, register them and that actually will remove the informality that they are grappling with.

The high level of informality of the country’s businesses has been cited as one of the challenges hindering taxman from collecting enough revenue. For instance, during the first nine months of the year to March, URA had collected Shs 8.1 trillion, showing a shortfall of Shs 194.6 billion below target, and an indication that they are unlikely to meet the annual target of Shs 10.6 trillion. Further, the courier and parcel industry operators say they are happy with new innovation as it will spur better services. As of last year, Uganda had more than 32 licensed postal and courier service providers, according to data from the Uganda Communications Commission, but most are struggling for lack of an organized city.

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KCCA ED talks to The Independent. PHOTO BY JIMMY SIYA

The cities forum hosted by KCCA attracted over 450 participants from over 45 cities to tackle urban development agenda in east and central Africa. The conference came at the time the East African region is experiencing unprecedented relocation of youth from rural areas to cities in search for jobs and better standards of living.

KCCA data shows that Kampala, currently with over 1.5 million people, is urbanizing at 5% per annum, signaling serious strains on the available resources in future.

In East Africa, it is predicted that 40% of people will be living in urban areas with Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, and Kigali having the highest growth rate by 2030. KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi says as urban population grows, urban leaders need to be ready to gain from its growth but also be ready to handle vast challenges that come with it.

“We need to realize that Africa is urbanizing younger and at low levels of income than any other continent. This brings in the current challenges of high (youth) unemployment, high rates of slum growths, increased pressure on the existing infrastructure, climate change adaptation challenges among others,” Musisi said.

KCCA data shows that Kampala, currently with over 1.5 million people, is urbanizing at 5% per annum, signaling serious strains on the available resources in future.

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