September 18, 2013

Budget Committee: Government Must End Selective Pay Awards

Uganda Parliament’s budget committee is calling for the establishment of a Salary Review Board that will be used to revise salary scales for public servants and eliminate the current selective pay awards.

Uganda parliament's budget committee meeting on Tuesday morning.
Uganda parliament’s budget committee meeting on Tuesday morning.

The committee recommended that the legal and regulatory framework for the board should be tabled in Parliament this financial year to enable it commence work next financial year.

The recommendations are highlighted in the committee report scheduled to be tabled on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday  afternoon in regard to Speaker Rebecca kadaga’s directive to the committee to scrutinize the 2013/2014 budget estimates and identify areas, where some money can be re-allocated to meet the teacher’s demands

Yesterday, the same committee said there were no credible sources of funding to effect the 20% pay raise for teachers. It however recommends that all tax proposals made by government to raise revenue should be sustained even though it is not possible to re-allocate funds from activities in the current budget.

The committee observes that in future all demands on the budget should be introduced early in the budget process to enable favourable competition among the activities. It further notes that the scope for pay review lies in finding new sources to fund pay raise across all categories of deserving public servants.

Meanwhile, the committee report highlights a proposal fronted by Shadow Minister for Finance Geoffrey Ekanya’s to effect a 1.5% cut across the entire budget to yield Shs136bn that would be used to cater for the teacher’s increment. It however notes that the proposal was considered and found untenable as it did not take into account the consequences of those cuts to planned programs and activities.

But Ekanya insists he will present a minority report on the floor of Parliament on the same. In his draft minority report, he moves away from the initial proposal of a 1.5% budget cut to a 3.6% cut excluding cuts from key sectors of the economy which he says would be suppressed if the cut is effected on the entire budget.

Tim Lwanga, the budget committee chairperson noted that the committee report was based on the earlier proposal of 1.5% cut across all sectors that had been already signed by all committee members.

The two reports now remain to be formally tabled on the floor of Parliament for a general debate that will pave a way forward for the striking teachers.

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