The Minister of State for Public Service, Mary Mugasa has told Members of Parliament that a Salary Review Commission that is envisaged to solve pay disparities will be in place in the next two months.
Mugasa was on Monday appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)- Central Government in regard to audit queries raised by the auditor general on payroll management in different regional referral hospitals.
Medard Lubega Sseggona, the committee chairperson tasked the Minister on failure to increase and improve the welfare of public servants and causing professionals to decline deployments at certain stations or working for government.
“What is your policy and plan and what guided you in determining who a scientist is and how did you choose to begin with one group of workers in which case, you have a science teacher earning more than the head teacher who is a history teacher by training?” Sseggona asked. “Is it law or policy.”
In response, Mugasa said that government only started with scientists and that a pay plan across the government will be in place next year to enable the enhancement of salaries. Mugasa assured MPs that the salary disparities among civil servants are to be solved through the review commission whose establishment was already approved by Cabinet and only awaiting the selection of members to the Commission.
Her response did not satisfy MPs who questioned the intention of the government to increase salaries selectively. Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP said that this decision by the government is discriminatory.
Minister Mugasa said that the decision by the government is not discriminatory but was informed by limited financial resources to enable the increment of salaries across the board.
“Salaries Review Commission is also in our interest as a Ministry and this is not going to delay,” Mugasa explained. “We are going to expedite the process and we are looking at two months because the preliminaries are already done and just waiting for the legal process…then we can put in place everything.”
She said that the Salary Review Commission which is in the pipeline will solve the situation.
But Sseggona wondered why government started with implementing a non-existing policy as opposed to establishing a Commission first.
Parliament has on several occasions appealed to government to expedite the establishment of a Salary Commission to regularly review salaries and payroll management in implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll System -IPPS.
This formed part of recommendations by a 2014 report by Parliament’s committee on Public Service and Local Government on the Investigations into Salary and Payroll anomalies in the Uganda Public Service.
The report adopted by Parliament indicated that the Ministry of Public Service was overwhelmed with Salary and payroll management issues alongside a series of other obligations. Key among them is the deduction of subscription fees for Uganda National teachers Union (UNATU) from teachers and loan repayments due to commercial institutions where public servants have sought credit.