Teachers’ Pay Rise Demand: Parliament Decides Today

Ugandan primary school teachers hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration in a protest against the government's failure to increase their salaries in an earlier strike.

The budget committee of parliament is expected to announce its final decision on the teacher’s 20 percent pay rise this morning.

Tim Lwanga, the Budget committee chairperson directed his members last evening to identify areas, where money can be realized from to give teachers a pay rise.

According to Lwanga, the areas will be discussed in their meeting this morning to see whether it is possible to make necessary adjustments in the budget. He explained that the meeting will be attended by chairpersons of all committees in parliament.

Earlier on Samuel Wanyaka, the director Budget office in parliament informed the committee that executing any budget cuts would affect all budgets, already endorsed by parliament.

However, members of the budget committee led by Angelline Osegge, the Soroti District woman MP informed Wanyaka that the house had only passed recommendations from the different committee reports but had not passed figures or allocations, adding that no budget would be affected.

Lwanga, the committee chairperson then directed Wanyaka to go back and look at different areas from which the committee can cut money to fulfill the teacher’s 20% pay rise and report to the committee before the afternoon session.

Geoffrey Ekanya, the shadow finance minister and also a member of the budget committee proposed that taxes be imposed on luxurious gadgets citing touch phones that cost more than one million shillings so that money is gotten to pay teachers. He also proposed budget cuts on seminars, travels abroad, the office of the president and defense in order to raise the 20% pay rise needed by teachers.

Last week on Thursday, MPs blocked the approval of the Education Committee report that had a recommendation that the budget should not be passed without effecting the 20% salary increment. The MPs also unanimously agreed not to pass the National budget without the increment in teacher’s salaries.

The speaker directed that Parliament’s budget committee convenes immediately and find areas from which money can be cut to fulfill the 20% salary increment so that teachers go back to class. However, it is not clear on whether the committee recommendations will have any impact or not.

On Monday evening, during an NRM caucus meeting, President Yoweri Museveni ordered teachers to call off the strike.

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