New System Faces Backlash for Slashing Local Government Salaries

Cash Torn
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The leaders of the Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU) expressed their discontent with the newly implemented payment system for Local Government workers in a press conference held last evening in Kampala. The system, known as the “Human Capital Management System,” has drawn criticism as numerous employees witnessed a reduction in their salaries during the rollout.

The ULGWU, led by Mr. Hassan Mudiba Lwabayi, the general secretary, demanded immediate rectification of underpayments in pilot districts and the swift clearance of arrears for affected workers. Specifically, Mr. Lwabayi highlighted instances where the new system allegedly violated administrative due process, resulting in reduced salaries for certain positions.

The ULGWU called for an official order to address salary arrears, emphasizing the importance of adhering to appointment letters and avoiding discrepancies in payment scales. Mr. Lwabayi voiced concerns about the Human Capital Management System unlawfully diminishing the earnings of cold chain officers and their assistants, as well as stripping remuneration from statisticians.

The union is contemplating legal action and has urged for judicial investigations to uncover the reasons behind the unexplained salary cuts. For instance, cold chain technicians, who were previously earning Shs2.2 million under U5, now find themselves receiving Shs1.5 million under the new payment system.

In another example, cold chain assistants appointed under salary scale U7, meant to earn Shs1.4 million gross with a net pay of about Shs1 million, are now receiving only Shs268,143. Local government employees, like Mr. Ivan Nalungu from Kumi District, expressed their dismay at the considerable reduction in income, highlighting a misalignment with established public service standing orders.

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Mr. Joseph Kakande Kiwanuka, a senior planner in Mubende District, revealed instances where planners holding scientist appointments were receiving salaries intended for non-scientists.

Efforts to obtain comments from the Ministry of Public Service were unsuccessful, with some officials’ contact information unavailable. However, Mr. Adam Bukenya, the Undersecretary in the Public Service ministry, declined to comment, suggesting that authorized personnel would provide the necessary information.

The Human Capital Management System was launched by the Minister of Public Service, Mr. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, on November 17, 2021. Initially implemented in four mock sites, including the Ministry of Public Service, Public Service Commission, National Information Technology Authority Uganda, and selected Local Government locations, the system began processing salary and pension payroll in December 2021. The phased pilot of the system is currently underway in selected districts.

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