A Cabinet minister has said increasing President Museveni’s budget is more important than paying public servants.
Parliament on Tuesday approved a Shs1trillion supplementary request, with part of the money meant to cater for the President’s ongoing wealth creation tour across the country.
According to documents submitted before Parliament, classified budget will account for Shs15.7billion and Shs17billion will go for field operations, accommodation, feeding the team accompanying the President during the tour.
However, striking teachers have been informed that whoever does not appear for work on Monday, May 27, will face the law.
According to State minister for Public Service David Karubanga, they agreed upon some issues with Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) and that if they (teachers) keep striking by Monday they will face the consequences.
“As government we have also failed to fulfill what we promised but both of us need to coordinate for the good of this country,” Karubanga said on Wednesday at the Media Centre.
Teachers across the country on Monday began their industrial action after a 90-day ultimatum elapsed, following a letter on February 20, to ministries of Public Service, Finance and Education reminding them of a commitment they made last year to enhance their salaries in 2019/20 financial year.
But when asked why a supplementary budget had been requested for the President yet there was no money to pay public servants, Karubanga said ‘the President is more important than public servants.’
“President’s budget is more important than any other thing. So even if he needs an increase, he will get it because he is the President. Other sectors can wait,” he added.
In 2017, Cabinet approved a five-year pay target which was to be implemented in a phased manner for over five Financial Years. The first phase started in F/Y 2018/19 where over Shs525.2bn was released to cater for salary increments of public servants such as medical workers, Scientists other than medical workers, legal practitioners and prosecutors, post-primary/tutors/instructors/head and Deputy teachers and Principal and Deputy principals, Uganda Police and Prison staff.
In the second phase salaries for teachers and other public servants were to be financed in F/Y2019/20. However, Karubanga said it will be impossible since government has got other competing critical priorities such as completion of critical oil infrastructure, completion of power station, projects to address youth empowerment and employment, Defence and Security, revival of the national Airline and construction of irrigation schemes to address climate change.
He, however, said that some teachers and medical workers who were not catered for in the first phase will have their salaries increased to match those who have already received a rise.
He also cautioned all public service union leaders to ensure that all workers under their jurisdiction continue to work.