Govt seeks to postpone civil servants’ pay rise

Minister of State for Finance Henry Musasizi tables the National Budget Framework Paper during plenary session last Tuesday . PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Some of the categories, like medical doctors, have managed to secure an increase by putting government under pressure through industrial action like strikes. 

The Ministry of Finance has proposed halting the salary enhancement plan for public servants until the economy has recovered from the beating by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the National budget framework paper for Financial Year 2022/2023-2026/2027, the Finance ministry states that the postponement of the salary enhancement in the 2022/2023 Financial Year will lead to “prudent macroeconomic management and effective implementation of the budget as well as speedy economic recovery”. 

“…We recommend the following fiscal and administrative measures: - Postponement of salary enhancements across the board until the economy recovers and resources become available,” the paper reads in part. 

However, the spokesman of the Finance Ministry, Mr Jim Mugunga, denied that the ministry proposed the halting of the salary enhancements, but said they are advocating for more resources. 

“We are advocating for a resource envelope-informed phased approach that prioritises health workers and scientists as a start. In addition, the proposal keeps in sight the rest of the entire under-paid public service and calls for a defined roadmap complete with a roll out plan and timelines to cover the pay increases promised over five years ago for the rest,” Mr Mugunga said.

He added that the ministry is deliberately inviting stakeholders to commit to targets to deliver on this promise.

“To this end and roadmap, government would be held to its word and accountable as opposed to the usual reactionary-labour action prompted agenda. This, to me, is the single most clear sign from the Ministry of Finance that wage enhancement deserves a lot more action than words,” he said. 

Whereas the ministry has proposed a postponement in the government   commitment, it says a plan for salary enhancement for all cadres in government beginning with health workers and other scientists is in the works. 

In 2015, government agreed to increase the salary of public servants for three years starting in the 2015/2016 Financial Year. 

Some of the categories to benefit from the salary increment include secondary school science teachers, health workers, judicial officers, commissioners in several government agencies, ministries, and security personnel. 

However, the ministry said only 30 percent increment to some categories like permanent secretaries, health workers, and scientists has been implemented. 

Some of the categories, like medical doctors, have managed to secure an increase by putting government under pressure through industrial action like strikes. 

In August, Cabinet also agreed to increase the salaries of all scientists beginning next financial year. 

Government has also reached agreements for better remuneration with different sectors including the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2018 with teachers. 

The Budget Framework Paper is the overall strategy document for the budget that provides the link between government’s policies and the annual budget. 

It was tabled before Parliament last Tuesday by Junior Finance minister Henry Musasazi. It indicated a shrink in the budget from Shs44.7 trillion to Shs43 trillion.