Government has announced new payment procedures for civil servants’ salaries and confessed that more than 24,000 public employees have gone for months without pay due to what the Secretary to the Treasury called “inefficiency” in a “flawed” system.
To address the problem, Mr Keith Muhakanizi yesterday told MPs the government decided to decentralise the salary payment process.
He said this would overcome persistent problems in management of payroll and salary payments, which include delayed payments, accumulation of arrears and existence of “ghost” staff on the payroll.
Mr Muhakanizi told MPs on the Public Service and Local Government Committee the new system transfers the responsibility for management and approval of the final payroll and salary payments from the Ministry of Public Service to accounting officers.
While the Ministry of Public Service will still be responsible for verification and generation of the preliminary payroll on the basis of Pay Change Reports submitted by accounting officers, Mr Muhakanizi said the final payroll will be sent to the accounting officers for final check and effecting payments to individual public servants’ bank accounts.
“We didn’t want to decentralise the problems in the payment salaries. We have created forms for all the government employees in order to weed out the ghosts on the payroll,” he said, adding that ministry of Finance will have a limited role; to ensure adequate budgeting for wages and acting as a “cashier” for salary payment based on invoices generated and approved by accounting officers through the Integrated Financial Management System.
The secretary to the Treasury said: “The persistent salary shortfalls experienced in the budget arise mainly from the flawed system of allocation of the wage bill to the individual vote due to the failure by the accounting officers to provide adequate information for proper budgeting.”
The implementation of the decentralised salary payment system started in January.
Giving details on public servants who have not been paid since January, the Ministry of Public Service Permanent Secretary, Ms Adah Muwanga, said 23,430 civil servants were not on the payroll of 18,933 records completed in February.
She said 4,494 employees’ records were not migrated to the payroll due to incomplete data. She said they have since been migrated and they would be paid in March. At least 24,614 government employees were not paid due to having their transactions affected after the payroll finalisation.
Ms Muwanga said this was a result of increased volume of payroll change reports submitted to the ministry.
Mr Muhakanizi said by June 30, salary arrears to a tune of Shs30b will be paid.