Thousands of teachers on government payroll are in distress after going two months without getting their salaries.
A teacher in one of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools in Wakiso District, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Daily Monitor yesterday that hundreds of them last received salaries in June.
The teacher, who also said their secondary school counterparts have not been spared, added that “some … have since been paid after complaining, but majority are yet to get [their arrears].”
Other teachers who spoke to Monitor expressed their frustration at having no money to send their own children back to school. They asked the government to expedite the process of clearing their arrears.
“The reasons they are giving us for not paying our salaries are not clear. They only keep saying the system is faulty and promise to pay us but all in vain,” one of the teachers said, adding, “We are stuck with children at home because we do not have money to pay their fees. The economy is very bad and we do not know what to do.”
Another teacher in Mbarara City said close to 50 teachers have not been paid since July and they have raised their concerns with the responsible officers in the government.
Mr Filbert Baguma, the secretary general of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu), confirmed that teachers have filed complaints. He added that Unatu has been asked to compile a list of the affected teachers from various districts.
Mr Baguma asked the government to address the issue and release the teachers’ salaries as the majority are in schools but are not teaching because they are demoralised.
“We understand this might not be intentional, but we are worried about service delivery in schools. One cannot go two months without pay and you expect him or her to deliver,” Mr Baguma said.
Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education, told Monitor yesterday that they have received assurances from the Finance ministry that the situation will be remedied.
“It is not only the teachers who have not received their salaries for two months now,” he revealed, adding,
“Even government-sponsored students have not yet received their allowances, but the Ministry of Finance is handling … they are all going to be paid in the shortest time possible.”
Genesis of problem
The Public Service ministry in July notified all public servants that their July salaries were going to be delayed over issuance of the new salary structures for Financial Year 2022/2023. This was after the government started implementing a new salary structure that catered to the promised increment of all scientists across the country.
As a result, some people missed out on the salaries due to anomalies that arose from the released structure.
Unatu claims some teachers were deleted from the payroll. Elsewhere, other reports indicate that some arts teachers were given science teachers’ salaries and vice versa.
Mr Alfred Malinga, the chief administrative officer of Wakiso District, Monitor in an interview last week that they had issues with the salary system. He, however, hastened to add that anomalies have since been rectified. Mr Malinga revealed that not only teachers were affected, but some staff from other professions were too.
Mr Jim Mugunga, the Ministry of Finance public relations officer, said: “As a matter of policy at the Ministry of Finance, fully documented employees who service government, teachers included, are entitled to salaries, wages and related entitlements. This is a right and is not optional and hence we never cut these under any circumstances.”
He added: “It is possible that in some cases, new teachers could have been on board before all paperwork and related processes were completed…this has previously been discouraged because it defeats both planning and budgeting for the sector. I am not sure which category of teachers are affected…what I can confirm is that the Ministry of Finance makes sure that committed wages have a first charge on available resources with no exceptions.”