PARLIAMENT – The academic staff from Public Universities have petitioned the Parliamentary Education Committee over their unpaid salary arrears amounting to Shs29Billion and threatened to lay down tools if Government doesn’t honour its obligation.
Under their umbrella bodies, Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities in Uganda (FASPU) and Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum (PUNTSEF), the team informed the Committee that whereas Government promised to increase their salaries by Shs58Billion, only Shs29Billion was reimbursed to them.
Dr Grace Lubaale Chairperson FASPU issued an ultimatum to Government to clear their arrears in two weeks and failure to do so, this will leave them with no choice but take lay down their tools.
While appearing before the Committee Lubaale asked Parliament to prevail over the Executive and ensure that all the pending financial obligations are catered for in the 2019/2020 to ensure that a university professor reaches the promised Shs15M salary mark, as was promised by President Yoweri Museveni.
In the 2018/2019 Ministerial Policy statement for the Ministry of Education, the Committee noted that while Government increased salary for University lectures from last financial year, the Salary structure at Public Universities were yet to be fully harmonized.
The report highlighted that this has forced some Universities still rely on part-time lecturers whom they pay at their own rates, yet the public Universities’ total wage enhancement for both teaching and non-teaching staff is Shs78.5Billion in 2017/2018.
However, only Shs19Bn was allocated, leaving a shortfall of Shs59.5Bn. In 2018/2019 Shs33Bn has been allocated leaving a shortfall of Shs45.5bn, bringing the total shortfall of Shs105Bn in public Universities’ salaries.
In their earlier report, the Committee warned that, if this issue isn’t adequately handled this could bring about unrest at the Universities and the Committee went on to recommend the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance to harmonise the salary structure in all public Universities and halt the acquisition of new Universities until funds are got for full payment of the University staff salaries, calls to the Ministry of Finance to provide for the Shsl05Bn shortfall in the salaries of public Universities to avert unrest at the Universities.
Joseph Sewungu “Kalungu West) urged the team to stick together in their pursuit arguing: “You must gain confidence in yourselves, you aren’t demanding for something you haven’t worked for. You are demanding for services you are providing. You must take a position when you say you are laying down your tools, you must lay them down at once.”