Members of Parliament have asked the government to institute a salary review process for the entire public service and harmonize existing inconsistency of salaries.
The appeal follows a statement by the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi, on the payment of salaries for scientists under the Uganda Prisons Service.
Musasizi’s statement shadows concern that the personnel had not received a salary increment by virtue of being scientists in the public service, a decision that had been reached by the Cabinet on recommendation from the President.
The minister said that the concerns of non-payment of a section of scientists in government departments and specifically, the Uganda Prisons Service, may be due to the respective terms of employment specified in their appointment letters. These, he said, would be elaborated on by the public service and internal affairs ministers.
However, the legislators challenged the idea of an enhanced pay for scientists, describing it as demoralizing and a source of undue animosity.
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu, MP for Kalungu West County opposed the idea of segregating civil servants based on their training inclination being arts or sciences. He argued that salaries should instead be set based on one’s qualifications.
“It is counterproductive to have a teacher with vocational training, another with a diploma, and one with a bachelor’s degree all earning the same,” he urged, saying that this should be the focus instead.
Ssewungu added that it is extremely unfair to segregate salaries based on one being a scientist or artist in training, yet all professions depend on each and cannot survive on their own, using the example of an English teacher being as important as a Mathematics teacher because mathematics is taught in English, to drive his point home.
The District Woman Representative for Amuria, Hon. Susan Amero advised that government picks a leaf from Kenya on setting salaries for public servants based on academic qualification.
Hon. Dan Atwijukire said that even within similar professions, there are still discrepancies in salaries citing the difference in salaries of the Executive Directors of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda Cancer Institute, and Uganda Heart Institute.
“The Executive Director (ED) of Mulago is paid Shs15 million while the ED of Uganda Cancer Institute gets Shs25 million and the ED of Uganda Heart Institute is paid Shs39 million; this should not exist because these Institutions are interdependent and serve a similar purpose,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, added to the concerns raised by the MPs stating that the distortions in civil servants of the same profession continue to exist in other government agencies.
Tayebwa went on to mention that pilots in the Uganda Police Force are the least paid pilots in the public service, just like the lawyers, before recommending that these contradictions needed to be resolved.
In response, the Minister of Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, said that the salary increment is being applied in a phased manner with budgetary considerations in play.
The minister gave assurance that personnel who have not received salary increments will do so in due course, adding that all scientists will be paid as per the directive and according to their qualifications