Cold chain technicians and statisticians are raising concerns about the functionality of the Human Capital Management System (HCMS), an initiative by the Ministry of Public Service aimed at automating the human resource function. Despite its ongoing rollout, issues related to payment discrepancies persist, prompting discontent among local government employees.
|Joseph Kiwanuka Kakande
|Varied salaries for same position
|Cold Chain Technician
|Incorrect salary grade
Joseph Kiwanuka Kakande, a statistician from Jinja, reveals that the HCMS, designed to automate the allocation of workers’ pay, has encountered widespread complaints. Despite clear salary stipulations in appointment letters, employees are reporting receiving less than expected. Notably, individuals in the same position across different districts are receiving varying salaries.
Complaints have been lodged with the Ministry of Public Service, but the response has been limited. Some district planners continue to receive significantly higher salaries (up to sh6.5 million) compared to their counterparts in other districts who may receive as low as sh1.2 million. The explanation provided is that the system is responsible for the discrepancies, and little can be done to address the issue.
Ivan Nalungu, a Cold Chain Technician in Kumi district, echoes Kakande’s sentiments. He emphasizes that the payment discrepancies have been persistent since 2017 when the Programme Budgeting System was in use. Despite being designated for a U-5 medical salary, Nalungu consistently receives a U–6 salary, contrary to public service standing orders.
Efforts to rectify the problem over the last five years have proven futile, with neither the Ministries of Public Service nor Health providing satisfactory assistance. In response, the Uganda Local Government Workers Union, led by Hassan Mudiba, the General Secretary, is preparing to take legal action. The union aims to petition the court for an order requiring the refund of all workers affected by the IT system’s miscalculations.
Hassan Mudiba emphasizes that while government-initiated systems like HCMS aim to streamline processes and address human resource challenges, they must align with existing laws and policies. The union previously raised concerns about these discrepancies with the Ministry of Public Service on March 20th, 2023, but has yet to receive a response.
The HCMS, launched in 2023 and implemented in phases, aims to integrate various government payment systems, including the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), Programme Budgeting System (PBS), National Identification System (NID), and Payroll Deductions Management System (PDMS). However, the ongoing challenges faced by local government workers highlight the need for a comprehensive and effective resolution to ensure the system’s success.