Cabinet has ordered Ministry of Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija to release Shs58.5billion to cater for the salary enhancement for university lecturers and non-teaching staff.
A press release read by Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of media centre who represented government spokesperson, Mr Frank Tumwebaze indicated that cabinet passed the directive during their meeting on Monday.
“Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to clear the outstanding commitment made in FY (Financial Year) 2017/18 amounting to Shs58.5billion for salary enhancement for public Universities and non-teaching staff,” read the statement in part.
In 2005, the president agreed to enhance the salaries of university lecturers after endless strikes for under payment. In the enhancements, a professor, for instance was to earn at least Shs15M from the Shs8.5M.
The enhancement totalled to Shs234billion. It would, however, be given in instalments of three years of Shs78billion per financial year.
According to Mr Isaac Magoola, a senior lecturer of Bachelor Business Administration at Makerere University Business School (Mubs), the first instalment was fully settled and during the second financial, only Shs19M was released. This leaves a balance of Shs59M. Mr Magoola said, “They did not even give us money in our third year. However, after another strike, government released another Shs33billion. If this has been released then the lecturers and non-teaching staff will be calm for some time,” Mr Magoola said.
If that is the case, with the current directive followed, it will leave a debt of Shs104billion resting on the shoulders of the government.
Mr Mike Eladu, a representative of National Union for Educational Institutions (UNEI) said they had vowed to put up an industrial action in August if government had not replied to their comments.
“We had a meeting with education ministry and we had told them we will strike if they don’t pay us. The Minister for education (Ms Janet Museveni) asked to be given two weeks to return to us with an answer and I think we are happy for now since they had only two days to go,” Mr Eladu said.
Mr Opondo told journalists that the remaining amount of money will be paid as and when the ministry is able to and they needed some time.
Meanwhile, cabinet also approved a proposal to borrow up to $335M (Shs12.4billion) from World Bank as additional financing for the Uganda support to municipality infrastructure development programme.
The press release indicated that the loan will address, “Rehabilitation and construction of urban roads and associated infrastructure, construct market stalls for vendors at bus, taxi and lorry parks, construct markets, slaughter houses including provision for waste management. It will implement the drainage master plan and urban solid and liquid waste management through addressing bottlenecks in the solid waste management’s cycle, information education communication materials, institution materials and waste reduction startegies.”