Civil servants cry out for January pay
Posted Thursday, February 7 2013 at 02:00
This is the third time since May last year, that govt has defaulted on paying its employees on schedule.
The government has for the third time in seven months failed to pay salaries to civil servants on time, violating a ‘client’s charter’ obliging it to clear the wages by 28th of every month.
“Yes, I can confirm the delay,” the deputy Treasury secretary, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, said, promising action by the end of the week.
The spokesperson in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Jim Mugunga, said: “The delay was due to a data migration hiccup in the Ministry of Public Service. They sought our technical assistance and we are now fast-tracking necessary action to effect payments within the 48 hours.”
The delay in payment of January salaries has particularly been a big blow, according to some parents, because it caught them without money to dispatch students back to school. Already, Christmas and New Year fête spending wiped out earnings of individuals living on fixed income, making January a financially-challenging month.
The first term of the new academic year opened on Monday, this week, flaming the anger of hard-up government employees stranded with children at home.
“They think we are mechanical to teach their children while ours stay home!” the chairperson of the Uganda National Teachers Union, Ms Margaret Rwabusheija, said in a statement to justify malingering by teachers in public schools.
Similar frustration had earlier been echoed by a police officer, who contacted the Daily Monitor on Tuesday, saying he was unable to feed his family. “It’s worse for some of us in the Police Force, without allowances.
There is no money to pay tuition for the children, and as a father, you fear returning home after work,” the officer said, who asked not to be named for fear of being penalized, said.
Civil servants, particularly teachers and health workers, have battled with the government over what they consider less-than-satisfactory remuneration in a country without a harmonised pay structure.
Whereas public debate is largely centred on pressing for a salary commission to review and align public servants’ pay according to skills and experience, the government has lately gained notoriety for defaulting to pay its employees on time.
It explained delayed payment of May 2012 salaries on the payroll verification exercise intended to weed out ‘ghosts’, and blamed interrupted disbursement of October’s pay on the busting of a racket of thieving officials in the Public Service ministry.
Civil servants said it was unfair to punish them for infractions of other government employees.