Salary Raise For Uganda Prisons Scientists Hangs In Balance

Scientists in Uganda Prisons are nursing disappointment after the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development dashing their hopes for salary enhancement.

The issue of the aggrieved scientists was raised on the floor of Parliament after they petitioned workers’ representatives in the House that they were not considered for the pay raise as was directed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Kalungu West Constituency Member of Parliament, Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga, noted that while some officers were considered and enrolled for the pay raise, their hopes were cut short after they reverted to their older scales.

Frank Mbaine, the Uganda Prison Service Public Relations Officer said the whole arrangement was obscure, adding that the Ministry of Public Service issued a circular that it was difficult to keep some officers who studied sciences on the payroll for scientists yet there were not recruited into the service as scientists.

Last week, Parliament directed the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development to present a report on the status of salaries for scientists under the Uganda Prison Service.

In Financial Year 2022/2023, the government raised salaries for scientists, creating wide disparities, an action which appeared to undermine the principles of non-discrimination contained in the 2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by workers’ unions.

A budget circular issued by Dr. Ramadhan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury – PSST, suspended new recruitments in the next salary enhancement plan by one year (for FY 2023/2024).

A study conducted by the Ministry of Public Service confirmed that huge pay disparities between ‘scientists and other cadres have created disharmony in government. For example, a head of the department who is a scientist who was earning 3.1 million Shillings three years ago now earns Shs10.6 million according to the report, while a counterpart who studied humanities is stuck at 1.9 million.

Principal and senior officers who are scientists in 2020/21 earned 2.4 million and 2.3 million, respectively, and now pocket 4.4 million and 4.25 million, respectively. Their arts counterparts bank 1.5 million and 1.1 million Shillings, respectively.

Other officials who studied sciences and science teachers now earn 4 million, whereas the arts group receives between 940,366 and 1.1 million, respectively. A diploma holder scientist earns 2.2 million compared to 784,000 Shillings earned by a diploma holder in humanities.

These pay enhancements pushed the public sector wages and salaries bill for the Financial Year 2023/2024 to 6.4 trillion, up from 6 trillion in the 2021/2022 Financial Year.

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