By Patience Ahimbisibwe
Kampala — At least 1, 342 Ministry of Education staff will not get their May and June salaries unless the Finance ministry approves the request for a supplementary budget.
Mr Aggrey Kibenge, the Ministry of Education undersecretary, confirmed yesterday that the permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, had written to Finance ministry seeking a supplementary budget of Shs1.3 billion to cater for 1,342 staff who include teachers and are likely to miss their June salary. Another 34 staff will miss their salaries on the May payroll.
“We are not competent enough to say which teachers have not been paid or not. It is for Local Government, Finance and Public Service ministries to say. We are not the ones responsible for their wage bill. I can’t say which local governments have a shortfall. They deal directly with Public Service ministry,” Mr Kibenge said in an interview.
He added: “The permanent secretary has written to Finance informing them about the shortfall. It affects about 1,342 staff who may miss salary for June because there is a shortfall of Shs1.3 billion. In May, about 34 staff will also miss their salary. These are, however, headquarters staff.”
Sources within the ministry said the majority of 1,342 staff who are likely to miss their June salary are teachers.
In February, while responding to questions arising from a World Bank report on the country’s education particularly on teacher deployment, Mr Kakooza admitted that they had had challenges of teachers already on payroll being deleted without explanation.
He further told participants at the launch of the ‘Facing Forward Schooling for learning in Africa’ report that some of their staff were going to miss salary despite being on the payroll this financial year. He did not specify who would miss the salaries.
“Teachers are complaining of delays in accessing the payroll. That is an issue of Local Government ministry. We have had people knocked off the payroll, we have had people not getting their salaries even when they are on the payroll,” Mr Kakooza said.
He added: “We have written requesting for a supplementary budget because we don’t have enough money to fill the positions. Even the people who are on the payroll may not be paid if we don’t have extra funding from Ministry of Finance before the closure of this year.”
When we requested an explanation from Mr Kakooza on why some of the staff in his ministry will miss their pay, he referred us to the ministry’s commissioner in charge of human resource, Ms Jane Mwesiga.
Ms Mwesiga, too referred us to Mr Kibenge who confirmed a request for the supplementary budget.
It is not clear whether the problem was a result of under- budgeting or a mistake in the payroll system.
Mr Kakooza was reportedly out of the country yesterday.
Mr Filbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers Union Association general secretary, yesterday said there is continuous unexplained deletion of teachers from the payroll every month.
“Deletions of teachers off the payroll continue on a monthly basis. Some are removed and others put back. Local Government ministry says they submitted the records for public servants but when returns come back, some people are not there,” Mr Baguma said.
He said the education workers are likely to miss their May and June salaries because of inefficiencies by Local Government ministry.
“How do you budget for salary? You know the numbers, the amount of money they are getting and when you pay them for 10 months out of 12, you say their salaries are finished on the vote of salaries. How would that happen? There must be foul play because projections are very clear,” Mr Baguma said.
The Ministry of Local Government permanent secretary, Mr Benjamin Kumumanya, did not respond to our inquiries since February about the discrepancies in the payroll. Ms Mary Apasiat, the Local Government public relations officer, said Mr Kumumanya was engaged in a meeting and was not available for a comment.