What you need to know:
- In an interview with this publication last Friday, Mr Muruli said the board will consider the state of the economy, the nature of people’s work and in which direction the public service should lead the country
The Minister of Public Service, Mr Wilson Muruli Mukasa, has said the government is considering setting up a National Remuneration Review Board in the next financial year.
The proposed board will have seven members and will review the salaries of all civil servants including those in commissions.
In an interview with this publication last Friday, Mr Muruli said the board will consider the state of the economy, the nature of people’s work and in which direction the public service should lead the country.
“It was recommended that a Board composed of experts and eminent people, is set up to study issues of salary and to look at harmonising them from time to time and make meaningful recommendations to the government,” Mr Muruli said.
He added that consultations have been done and the Ministry is waiting for Cabinet’s input and approval. He said once everything is done, the Ministry will take the necessary steps to establish the Board.
The decision, he says, comes against a backdrop of many labour unions and associations, which have come up to negotiate and bargain for better pay in public service.
Mr Mukasa said the Board will advise the government as far as pay, harmonisation and salary scales are concerned, adding that a Shs5.3b budget has been earmarked for the Board’s operational costs and their remuneration.
Ms Catherine Bitaarakwate Musingwire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, declined to give details because they are working on the matter.
“I don’t have very many answers for you now; you will have to wait because it’s not obvious as it is, but we are working on it. That’s all I can tell you,” she said.
The revelation might be a relief to a section of arts teachers and other civil servants, who threatened to lay down their tools two weeks ago if the government doesn’t enhancetheir salaries in the next Financial Year.
Mr Filbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union Secretary General, however, described such actions by the government as ‘delaying tactics’, asking: “How long does it take to identify names of people to sit on the board?”
According to Mr Baguma, the State Minister for Public Service last year reportedly told Parliament that there would be a salary review board within two months, but now the Senior Minister is saying one will be in place in the next financial year.
That declaration, Mr Baguma said, is an indication that there is no goodwill from the government to rectify the current challenge in public service. He said the more the government delays, the more service delivery will be delayed.
In 2005, Bufumbira County East MP, Eddie Kwizera, moved a motion in Parliament urging the government to set up a Salaries and Remunerations Board. But he withdrew the motion.
Ten years later, the government tabled amendments to the 1995 Constitution, including the establishment of a salary review board. But Parliament rejected the proposal, saying the board would undermine the work of the Parliamentary Commission that sets salary scale for lawmakers and staff.