Cabinet okays Shs700b for scientists’ salaries

Students accompanied by their parents hand in requirements after reporting for second term at Bishop Cipriano Kihangire Secondary School in Luzira, Kampala, on May 8, 2022. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

  • The increment, which starts on July 1, will mainly depend on one’s area of speciality and academic qualifications. 
  • Shs139b: Amount of money earmarked for science teachers’ salary increment.

Cabinet has approved Shs735b to enhance salaries for scientists, including science teachers, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, has said.

Dr Baryomunsi said a Cabinet meeting that was chaired by President Museveni on Monday reaffirmed the pay raise effective July 1.

While addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday, the minister said  the money had been earmarked in the 2022/2023 national budget to cater for the increment. The total budget for this financial year is estimated at about Shs47 trillion.

According to Dr Baryomunsi, the increment will mainly depend on one’s area of speciality and academic qualifications and the funds will come from locally generated revenue.

“The taxes you and I pay will be used to enhance the salaries for scientists. The commitment document for this pledge is the national budget for the financial year 2022/2023, which commences on July 1. About Shs735b is required. Figures are being worked out correspondently,” Dr Baryomunsi said. 

“We respect all professions but also acknowledge that scientists play a vital role in developing and transforming the economy. Development and transformation of society is driven by science. For example, the discovery of fire was a scientific discovery. When the world was hit by Covid-19, countries used scientific knowledge to develop vaccines and we have been able to contain the pandemic because of scientific innovation,” he added.

Dr Baryomunsi cited medical doctors and other health workers, engineers, veterinary doctors, agricultural scientists, surveyors, architects, among others, as some of the beneficiaries of the pay rise.

“I don’t have a proper figure here of how many scientists are employed by government but by way of description, it will be scientist in government ministries, related agencies and local governments,” he said.

Dr Baryomunsi urged science teachers, who are on strike, to resume work, saying the government has not forgotten them.

“We are still on course as far as that pledge is concerned. Government committed itself to enhance your salaries by July 1. Why do you go on strike when we are still in the budgeting process?”  he asked.   

As learners reported back to school on Monday, a section of science teachers across the country laid down their tools, demanding that the Ministry of Public Service implements the presidential directive and Cabinet resolutions of August 24, 2021.

The resolution sought to enhance salaries for all scientists to the tune of Shs4 million for newly appointed degree holders and Shs3 million for diploma holders.

Currently, a diploma science teacher in a government institution of learning earns between Shs700,000 and Shs900,000, while a degree holder earns between Shs1m and Shs1.4m depending on experience.

Last Sunday, members of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union’s executive mobilised science teachers for an industrial action, demanding government to revert Shs139b that was earmarked for their salary increment.

Mr Martin Okiria Obore, the chairperson of the Secondary Head Teachers Association, urged government to fulfill the pledge because the impact of the ongoing teachers’ strike is grave.

“In my school, for example, there are 70 science teachers but none has turned up,” Mr Okiria, who is also the head teacher of Soroti Senior Secondary School, said.

The chairperson of the National Organisation of Trade Unions , Mr Usher Nelson Owere, said whereas he was excited about the pay raise, he urged government to put it in writing and instruct officials to implement it.