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Relief At Makerere As Gov’t Allocates Funds To Harmonize Salaries In 12 Public Universities

There is a sense of relief within Makerere University staff circles after the government has allocated at least Shs61 billion to harmonies salaries of staff in 12 public universities.

In an April 3 communication from the Ministry of Public Service addressed to public university secretaries, Undersecretary Godfrey Kaima noted that this allocation would be disbursed in the upcoming Financial Year of 2024/2025.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you that a total of Shs61,137,083,690 has been provided in the Budget for FY2024/2025 for harmonization of salaries for public universities…..,” Mr Kaima’s letter reads in part.

The breakdown indicates that Makerere University Business School will receive the largest portion at Shs14 billion, followed by Makerere University with Shs12.6 billion. Other beneficiaries include Muni University (Shs6.3 billion), Kyambogo University (Shs6 billion), Lira (Shs4.7 billion), and Busitema (Shs3.9 billion), among other Universities.

This development coincides with Makerere University staff’s earlier threat to resume their January strike, which had been temporarily paused to give the government time to address the salary harmonization issue.

Earlier this year, staff Associations – MUASA, MASA, and NUEI – had declared their intention to commence industrial action on January 15, 2024. The strike was later called off after discussions with Vice Chancellor Nawangwe, who pledged to take up the matter with the government.

However, although they suspended the strike, association leaders made it clear that if the funds were not included in the 2024/2025 budget, work would cease from April 8th, 2024.

Now, based on the communication, Makerere University Academic Staff Association- Muasa has also moved to temporarily the strike on hold and wait till the budget is read.

“Staff appreciate the University management, Council, and government for the recent written commitment on salary harmonization,” reads part of Muasa resolutions. The meeting unanimously agreed to suspend the strike until the national budget is read. The members will then reconvene a day after the budget reading to ascertain whether the commitment on salary harmonization was captured in the budget of the 2024/25 financial year, but shall not issue any other notice for industrial action should the budget not capture these funds.”

For a long time, Makerere University staff have been embroiled in a bitter exchange with the administration for salary harmonization with counterparts in other public universities arguing that it is unfair for people who have the same qualification to be receiving different salaries while others receive half of what their colleagues in other public universities get.

In 2017, the staff petitioned the University council over the same matter which propelled the University council to institute a salary harmonization committee in July to streamline the salary scales of Makerere University staff.

In its report then, the committee which was chaired by Thomas Tayebwa indicated that the University required 23 billion Shillings to have their staff salaries harmonized to a level of staff in other public universities.

The report indicated that the institution needed 17.7 billion Shillings to harmonize salaries for academic staff, 4.3 billion Shillings for administrative staff, and 669 million Shillings for support staff.

In January, Janet Kataha Museveni, Minister of Education and Sports, during Makerere’s 74th graduation pledged that the government committed to enhancing salary harmonization for staff and was working around the clock to sort the matter out.

“As you are aware, the auditor General took a Special Audit of the Government payroll,” said the Minister. “During that time, the government put a hold on salary enhancements, recruitment, and promotions. The Auditor General Completed the Special Audit and handed over the report.”

President Museveni who then was represented by State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo said the government had temporarily put a hold on salary enhancements, recruitment, and promotions due to a special audit of the government payroll and urged the staff to be patient, assuring them that they had not been forgotten.


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