President Yoweri Museveni has refused to bow to pressure from Uganda National Teacher’s Union-UNATU to effect a 20 percent pay rise for teachers.
Last month, Uganda National Teacher’s Union-UNATU issued a 90 day’s ultimatum to government to effect the salary increment or else teachers lay down their tools. The threat follows the failure by government to honor a pledge to increase the teachers pay rise this financial year. Red Pepper Online has learnt that president Yoweri Museveni is not about to yield to the threats by teachers.
Sources that attended the NRM caucus on Monday quote Museveni saying that he is not a populist to be blackmailed by teachers to give them a pay rise. He alleged told the NRM MPs that following donor aid cuts it was hard for government to allocate the 20 percent on teacher’s salaries as government had committed himself earlier.
Museveni reportedly argued that he does not know of any country in the world that has developed because of consumption. He told the MPs that unless he is told which electricity line or roads he should suspend there is no way he can get money to pay teachers.
According to the source, Museveni said the teachers’ strike wouldn’t divert him from concentrating on infrastructure development, which he emphasized is a priority. Museveni reportedly informed the MPs that it was important for government to prioritize saying that it is what the economy needs now in order to take off.
He said civil servants would be considered later once things improve. David Bahati, the Deputy NRM chief whip has confirmed that they indeed discussed the teacher’s salary increase demands. He says that the caucus directed Museveni to meet with the executive of Uganda National teacher Union to discuss and harmonize the pending issue of the 20% increment in this Financial Year of 2013-2014.
Bahati says that the caucus decided to support the welfare of Civil Servants by injecting 5 billion shillings in the teacher’s SACCO this financial year and another 5 billion shillings for the next four years, which amount to 25 billion shillings. He says the caucus also directed the Finance and Public Service Ministries to clear the pending salary arrears for teachers.
President Yoweri Museveni called upon members to remain united behind the focus to grow the economy through infrastructure development. He explained that whereas development of infrastructure like roads, electricity, railway and water-ways were mainly one-offs, infrastructure was essential to industrial growth as it lowers costs of business and production.