By Rackara Emmanuel
Gulu – Government in September allocated Uganda shillings 150 billion for salary enhancement of primary school teachers and lectures in public universities.
It was also reported that a 35 percent salary increment would be effected starting this October.
However during the World Teachers Day celebration held in Gulu last week, a section of Uganda national teachers union [UNATU] members expressed resentment in the percentage discrepancies
According to Ambrose Ogwal, the national executive council member of UNATU, said: “I’m disappointed with government in its ability to fulfil the collective bargaining agreement in its form and promising to pay a specific by the beginning of October.”
“Eventually, what is on paper now has a lot of inconsistency since at first there was information attributed by minister of public service during the conference with head teachers and deputies, where he stated that there would be an increment by 42%,” he added.
“Then again, information came that the increment is going to be 30% but now what is stipulated in the circular letter by the permanent secretary doesn’t tantamount to 30% but indeed its about 7%,” Mr. Ogwal noted.
Ogwal said it is discouraging because teachers’ morale was lifted by the pronouncements and now what is “expected is not what is in the paper”.
“As UNATU, we shall go back to the drawing board and talk to government and she has to come and explain why they were not able to meet their obligation as it was projected in pen and paper and giving a way forward to inform members,” he further noted.
He, however appealed to teachers not to adjust their budget anyhow expecting a lot of money since there is still disparities in the percentages.
Aber Betty, chairperson UNATU Gulu branch said as much as it has not been easy for government in making an annual enhancement, “it is a right and reasonable to be effected since teachers have been suffering through the country’s high cost of living on the meagre salary earned.”
Citing that, “an earning of a primary school teacher which is 469,000 shillings is too small to meet rent fee, food and health bills.”
She added that this becomes unsustainable.
In August this year, Minister for Public Service Muluri Mukasa, in Kampala, told journalists that money was got from different agencies, ministries and departments’ planned expenditure on things like staff training, maintenance of vehicles, among others.
According to the Minister, out of shs.150 billion, 135 billion will go for teachers in primary schools and the balance will go to public universities to increase salaries for lecturers and non-teaching staff.
“We have cut on recurrent expenditure of Ministries, Department and Agencies [MDAs] to get the money for salaries. We have felt that we should make cuts to raise enough money for pay enhancement,” Mr. Mukasa added.