What you need to know:
- The funds the government released to the districts are simply not enough to pay all categories of its workers.
The salaries for September for thousands of government employees will not be remitted to their accounts when the month comes to an end due to shortfalls in the amounts that the Finance ministry remitted to the districts to meet the wage bill.
The government disbursed funds to the districts in August to cater to the wage bill of its employees for the first quarter of the financial year. It has now come to light that the funds are simply not enough to pay all categories of its workers.
The shortfalls are being blamed on the Finance ministry that stands accused of failure to take into consideration the enhancements of salaries of government employees in the science category.
Government employees’ salaries for July were delayed to allow for the Public Service ministry to issue a new salary structure for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. The new salary structure was meant to take into consideration the enhancement of the salaries of public sector workers in the science category.
It, however, emerged earlier last week that despite government’s request for time to allow the new salary structure to come into force, thousands of workers on its payroll had not been paid since June last year.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Jim Mugunga, declined to address himself to the shortfalls on Saturday. He had, however, earlier in the week told this publication that “fully documented employees who service government, teachers included, are entitled to salaries, wages and related entitlements. This is a right. It is not optional and hence we never cut these under any circumstances.”
He added: “What I can confirm is that the Ministry of Finance makes sure committed wages have a first charge on available resources with no exception.”
“Due to salary enhancement in July 2022 for science category workers against the current budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023, the district has experienced a wage shortfall and hence may not be able to pay some staff September salaries,” Mr Godfrey Kuruhiira, the Buikwe District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), wrote in a September 8, memo.
Mr Kuruhiira did not disclose the extent of the shortfall and Sunday Monitor could not establish the scale of impact on respective districts.
However, Ms Dorothy Ajwang, the Kikuube District CAO, in a September 8 memo to staff under her supervision, revealed that the district has a wage bill shortfall of Shs405,282,267.
The CAO of Kumi, Ms Adongo Roseline Lunoni, also indicated that she had a wage bill shortfall of Shs945,600,333.
In a statement on the floor of the House on Wednesday, Mr Mathias Mpuuga—the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LoP)—illuminated the failure of the central government to remit local government revenues.
The LoP warned that ramifications of this are such that “delivery of public services” has been “adversely affected.”
Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the Finance ministry Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST), dismissed Mr Mpuuga’s fears as “disinformation intended to alarm citizens…” The PSST also expressed concern over politicians…turning the economy into their launchpad for cheap politicking.”
More sectors affected
Letters from various CAOs urging public sector workers to tighten their belts, however, appear to vindicate the LoP. Whereas the spotlight had until earlier this week been on the teachers, it is emerging that a vast array of government workers will be affected effective this month.
A September 9, memo sent out by the Kanungu District CAO for example names health workers, employees of the production department, works and natural resources departments as some of those who joined the teaching staff on the list of employees that will not receive their September salaries in time.
In Sironko, according to CAO Emmanuel Ocen’s memo, the affected groups of employees will include health workers and those employed in the production, natural resources and works departments.
Elsewhere, those who will be affected in Kumi District are those that belong to the health and production departments.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Catharine Musingwire Birakwate, had by press time not responded to our request for information on the matter.