KAMPALA. Academic staff of Makerere University yesterday gave government an ultimatum of up to today to pay their June salaries and allowance arrears for five months.
The move by Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), a more than 1000 member strong body, comes less than a month to the opening of the new semester.
Addressing journalists at Makerere University yesterday, the chairman Muasa, Mr Muhammad Kiggundu, declined to say what their next move will be if government fails to honour their demand, which also includes paying the arrears of more 4000 non-teaching staff. In total, the amount is more than Shs12.5b.
“We are calling for the immediate release of our June salaries and the five months arrears of incentives for the teaching staff before tomorrow [today] ends. We have given them [government] enough time,” Mr Kiggundu said.
He added that “when time comes and it’s crossing the river, I will tell whether to use a ship or a boat,” Mr Kiggundu said.
The chairman said lecturers cannot offer their services to the university when they have not received their salaries. He asked the concerned government departments to ensure that next semester commences when they are catered for.
However, the secretary to treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, said he is not aware of the money talked about by Muasa, since he has settled the salaries and wages for all the government universities.
“I [Finance Ministry] released 100 per cent salaries to all government Universities for the last financial year and I have already released 25 per cent for this financial year which is equivalent to one quarter. I don’t know what they (Muasa) are talking about because I am fully in line,” Mr Muhakanizi said.
Attempts by Daily Monitor to speak to officials from Makerere University, including the vice chancellor, the public relations manager and the Ministry of Education were futile. They were said to be in a meeting by press time.
Last week Makerere University Vice Chancellor John Ddumba Ssentamu said that the institution has accumulated debts of about Shs125b in unpaid pension arrears to staff, incentives, utility bills and teaching materials.
Asked whether the university can sustain payment of the incentive to staff, introduced three years ago, Prof Ddumba retorted: “If we have not paid six months, what does it imply?”