September 14, 2013

MPs Want UNATU Off Teachers’ SACCO Dime

Ugandan Members of Parliament have supported the country’s Education Committee recommendation to keep Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) out of the teachers’ five billion shillings SACCO fund.

MPs suggested that the SACCO money be given to teachers at the Sub County or district level in order not to interfere with school programs.

UNATU Secretary General James Tweheyo
UNATU Secretary General James Tweheyo

This was highlighted in the Committee report to Parliament on the Education and Sports Ministry Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for financial year 2013/2014.

The committee instead noted that direct contact be established between the Ministries of Education and Finance on one hand and the respective teachers’ SACCOs on the other so that the Ministry of Finance directly remits the funds to the teachers.

Iganga Woman MP Kabaale Olivia Kwagala said dealing with teachers directly ensures equitable access to the money.

Wilson Nokorach, representing People with Disabilities in Northern Uganda, said if the responsibility of SACCO money is put to UNATU, teachers will have problems accessing it. He added that even putting the money at districts would not be the best solution saying that it would be very good if teachers formed SACCOs at sub county level so that they are able to get the money easily without interfering with school programs.

Otuke Woman MP Nyakecho Okwenye claimed that UNATU is a Kampala based association saying that it is actually not represented in the rural parts of the country. She suggested that if possible teachers’ SACCO money be at the sub county level for teachers to access it easily.

The Committee further recommended that the Ministry of Education and that of Public Service task UNATU either to register its members or provide evidence to the effect that all subscribed members are doing it voluntarily and with their consent, before any deductions are made on the teachers’ monthly salaries.

The committee noted that not all teachers subscribe to UNATU and that even those who are said to subscribe are just conscripted without their consent through connivance with head teachers and the Ministry of Public Service officials.

Much as UNATU collects one percent of each registered members’ salary per month and is expected to remit a stipulated percentage to the regional and districts branches, the committee notes that it does not do so.

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