The Ministry of Finance has engaged the Auditor General to carry out a 100 percent audit of the government payroll.
Appearing before the health committee on Friday, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka explained that this is because of the perennial complaints of public servants failing to access the payroll.
Kiwanuka says they hear of people not getting their salaries for over six months and salary arrears yet the salaries are released every month.
The Finance Minister said the matter was brought to her attention in the last two years and that is why they are now engaging the Auditor General to ensure that the government payroll is a value for money instrument.
Her statement came after the Health committee chairperson Kenneth Omona stated that there was a proposal by the Medium Term Expenditure Framework to look for 50 billion shillings to enhance retention allowance for health workers at lower health facilities and help retain critical cadres.
The Kaberamaido legislator also relayed the challenge of shortage of Doctors being faced by Regional referral hospitals wondering whether it is just a shortfall or lack of a recruitment plan.
Professor Pius Okong, the chairperson of the Health Service Commission, also put it to the Minister that they need to recruit a total of more than 8000 health workers. These include Doctors, anesthetists, cold chain assistants and dispensers for some districts. Out of the 7000 recruited, about 5000 accessed the payroll leaving another 2000 without pay.
Those who were promoted in the recruitment exercise are also still earning the same old salary instead of their new wage which money goes to unspent budget. Professor Okong also asked why government is spending money to train and increase the human resource yet they don’t take on government vacancies.
Minister Kiwanuka explained that said this should be blamed on lack of a salary review commission. She said that for those complaining that the salaries are not enough, there is still need for government to put money in productive sectors in order to ensure that they work more productively and generate more tax revenue for the health sector.
The government is also going to carry out a bonding exercise particularly for the jobless state-educated or beneficiaries of student loans to fill government jobs for at least three years or pay back the loan.
Dr Christine Mwebesa, the deputy chairperson health service commission, said they have requested for a recruitment plan and a forum from the ministry of health and that of public service in vain. A visibly disappointed Dr Mwebesa argued that the matter would have been resolved if they held termly forums with the respective ministries before budgets are presented.
Last year, Parliament decided that 49 billion shillings be provided for recruitment of health workers. Kenneth Mugambi, the Director for Budgeting at the Ministry of Finance explains that at the end of the financial year the bulk of the money was not spent.
Mugambe distanced the Finance Ministry from the blame that they do not release money, but questioned the accounting officer at the ministry of public service on why most health workers are not accessing the payroll yet the money is available.
In what may come as good news to the Ministry of Health, Mugambe revealed that 34 billion shillings was not spent in the financial year 2012/2013 and that they can carry out a new recruitment exercise.
Mugambe also explained why some staff are not paid saying there are those who are given appointment letters but are not paid have to wait until they access the pay roll.
He further revealed that the health ministry has only performed up to 4percent yet it’s half way into the first quarter of the 2013/2014 financial year. He adds that even though government says it has little resources the problem goes to failure to absorb by the ministry.