Ugandan Teachers will have to wait a little longer to realize the 20 percent pay rise they demand from the government.
The budget committee of parliament says there are no credible sources of funding to effect the 20% pay rise for teachers pledged by government.
Last week, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament tasked the budget committee to scrutinize the budget and identify areas, where some money can be re-allocated to meet the teacher’s pay rise.
On Tuesday morning, Tim Lwanga, the chairperson of the budget committee said it would be unfortunate for them to lie to the teachers that they can get a pay rise because there is no money.
It came after the parliamentary budget office, which was tasked on Monday evening by the budget committee to identify areas where money can be got from to effect the pay rise presented a report to parliament indicating adverse consequences on development activities should any budget cuts be made.
Samuel Wanyaka, the director budget office told the committee after his office was directed to ascertain whether there are possibilities of raising 136 billion shillings required to raise the teacher’s salaries, his office re-examined the budget estimates for FY 2013/2014 and came up with four scenarios.
He says the areas selected for the proposed budget cuts included advertising, workshops and seminars, staff training, hire of venues, book, periodicals and News papers, welfare and entertainment, printing, stationary and photocopying, telecommunications, travel inland and Abroad, Fuel, Lubricants and Oils and Maintenance of vehicles and other equipment excluding a vote on Account, one third of the total allocation of these items, statutory votes, Missions and Local Governments.
Wanyaka said after making deductions they came up with Shs68bn, which couldn’t make the required 136 billion for a 20% pay rise for teachers. He warned that any budget cuts in the recurrent expenditure would have adverse consequences on development activities and programs aimed at future economic growth.
He noted that there is no scope for budgetary re-allocation in the current budget adding that, the only scope for funding salary increment over and above the 4% already awarded to teachers and any other public workers lies in finding new sources of income inform of taxes, loans or grants.
Wanyaka also reminded the budget committee of its earlier recommendation indicating that selective pay awards cannot cure industrial unrest but only escalate them.
The budget office noted that a salary review board is the only logical and sustainable method of pay review for public workers.
Geoffrey Ekanya, the shadow finance minister insisted that money could be got from the presidential budget, seminars, travels and others. However Tim Lwanga, the budget committee chairperson rubbished his proposals saying he was repeating what the Parliamentary budget office had suggested and told him to think of new sources of money.
Ekanya was excused to go out and identify areas from which money can be got. On his return, Ekanya told the committee that if budget cuts of 1.5% could be made across all sectors, the committee would be able to raise the Shs136bn shillings required to raise teacher’s salaries.
However most of the members of the committee and chairperson of committees refused this option.
Fox Odoa tasked Ekanya to clarify the implications the 1.5 cut on the health sector could make. As a result, Tim Lwanga, the committee chairperson said Ekanya’s proposals were not viable.
Nyakecho okwenye, Otuke District Woman MP told the committee that by the time government made an agreement with the teacher’s donor budget cuts were not predicted.
She however, said following the donor budget cuts, government was unable to fulfill its pledge. The committee is expected to table its report on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday before the debate on the teacher’s salary resumes.
However, Geoffrey Ekanya, the shadow finance minister has indicated his intention to table a minority report on the matter.