Officials in Luwero and Nakaseke Districts have announced that they are unable to pay staff salaries ahead of the festive season due to persistent budget shortfalls.
In Nakaseke, the affected staff have been put on notice to anticipate a delay in the payment of salaries for the month of December. The district has a wage shortfall of 1.3 billion Shillings, according to releases made by the Ministry of Finance in the second quarter of the financial year.
According to the notice issued by Martin Osemba on behalf of the Office of Chief Administrative Officer, the staff have been asked to wait patiently until the Ministry of Finance offsets the deficit. The most affected staff are health workers, agricultural extension officers, as well as secondary and tertiary education staff, among others.
Meanwhile, Luwero district Chairman Erastus Kibirango said that their wage bill increased to 53.4 billion Shillings after the enhancement of salaries for science teachers, yet the district had planned for 43.1 billion Shillings. He adds that although they have received some additional releases, the funds are not enough to pay for all the staff.
Luwero District Human Resource Officer Bernard Okello says that they have a shortfall of 1.6 billion Shillings which the Ministry of Finance has to offset so that they pay all staff. Okello, however, noted that they are still making internal administrative arrangements to ensure that all staff gets salaries ahead of the festive season.
Secondary School teachers who preferred anonymity said it will be unfortunate to miss their salary but they remain optimistic that the payments will come through before Christmas. They added that delays have become common since the announcement of enhancements for their colleagues in science dockets.
Both Luwero and Nakaseke district authorities declined to list the exact number of staff that will be affected by the delays saying it will create unnecessary panic and demoralise staff.
Luwero district was also unable to pay a section of its staff in November. According to a circular dated December 4, signed by Luwero District Chief Administrative Officer Elizabeth Namanda and addressed to the staff, the delays to pay the salaries were a result of failure to download and update payroll lists for the affected staff.
In August, about 165 secondary teachers missed salaries in Luwero over budget shortfalls. Recently Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties told Parliament on budget shortfalls that the releases are made in accordance with the cash flow.
Musasizi explained that the Ministry would have mobilized additional funds to cover the deficit through borrowing but this was not possible due to the increasing cost of domestic borrowing, efforts to limit the rate of borrowing, general deadline in consumer demand that may have an impact on revenue forecast.
He promised that more funds will be released as the financial year progresses.