Low salaries shouldn’t make you corrupt, IGG tells civil servants

IGG Beti Kamya addresses a gathering in Kampala on November 14, 2023. 

Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Kamya has cautioned civil servants against becoming corrupt due to underpayment.

She noted that several corrupt public servants have –during litigation-  raised low payment as their major driver into the “evil of corruption.”’

“We have African countries that are doing so good [in the fight against corruption] and I don’t think their salaries are that good. Corruption in the country is not as a result of low salaries, actually those who are most paid and occupying top government positions are benefiting more from corruption scandals compared to their underpaid juniors,” she said while sensitizing commissioners, undersecretaries and directors of various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on their roles in the fight against corruption.

Since last week, the IGG has been meeting and engaging government workers in anti-corruption rallies.

“The general public can just assist us in this fight, but we (civil servants) are the active actors in this war.  We cannot just look on as the country continues to lose almost half of the local revenue to corruption annually,” she said on Tuesday in Kampala.

A 2021 study by the Inspectorate of Government (IG) revealed that Uganda loses close to Shs10 trillion every year in both direct and indirect corruption tendencies.

On November 14, the deputy head of Public Service Deborah Katuramu urged civil servants to care more about their integrity and ethics rather than wealth accumulation, which may land them into corruption.

“I agree that there might be a need to raise salaries for some civil servants, but let us not cause pain to people who are helpless. We need to reflect on our personality, good services and integrity before fronting the salary issue,” Katuramu said.

“We are aware of the issues to do with salaries especially at the lower levels and soon we shall be meeting the minister of Public service to have a discussion on the same matter. However, corruption is also among the reasons for the low pay, it is therefore important that we first unite against it for good,” she added.

The Tuesday IGG meeting was the second between the IGG and civil servants following last week’s similar meeting in which she engaged accounting officers and permanent secretaries of government MDAs. Next week, the IGG will be meeting a group of civil servants at lower ranks over the same matter.