MPs yesterday told government that civil servants cannot shoulder the burden of failure by the Public Service ministry to submit their payrolls to the Finance ministry on time, condemning them to months without salaries.
The legislators made the observation after Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka repeated a position which has been expressed by her junior colleagues at the ministry, accusing the Public Service for being behind the delay in paying April salaries of civil servants by failing to beat the deadline of submitting the final payroll.
Teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, public prosecutors and prison officers form the bulk of the affected civil servants.
“The decentralisation of the payment system did not alter the mandate of the ministry of Public Service. It is required to submit the final payroll by the 23 [of every month]. The deadline has not been adhered to for various reasons,”Ms Kiwanuka said.
Ms Kiwanuka was, however, cut short after it dawned on MPs that the statement she was presenting was different from the one that had been wired to legislators’ iPads. She withdrew it and undertook to make another presentation.
In her expunged presentation, Ms Kiwanuka told the House that the government has saved over Shs70 billion by weeding out 9,000 ghosts employees on the payroll.
Ms Sezi Mbaguta, the junior Public Service minister, was not permitted to respond to Ms Kiwanuka’s assertions as the ministry was held responsible for the delay in paying the April salaries for the second time this week. Ms Kiwanuka also singled out the accounting officers of the Education ministry, Bushenyi and Wakiso districts for not submitting payroll details of civil servants under their docket to the Finance ministry.
Kyadondo East MP Semujju Nganda, however, said the Finance ministry must take the initiative to ensure that civil servants are paid on time instead of trading blame with the Public Service ministry over the recurrent delays.
Bukedea County MP George Ekuma also queried the excuses being made for the delay in paying salaries of civil servants for April, saying “it cannot be PS’ causing all these issues. There is a problem in Finance”.