Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University management has asked the university council to close all fees collection accounts of the university.
This is after government through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development assigned the country’s revenue authority –URA to take over fees collection in all public universities.
The university has six fees collection accounts with Stanbic Bank Uganda, dfcu Bank, Centenary Bank, Post Bank and United Bank for Africa –UBA.
Makerere’s 1st Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academics Professor Umar Kakumba says that although Makerere is still collecting fees, they expect to use another system where URA will be monitoring the financial flows.
Professor Kakumba says while the fees collection accounts are supposed to be closed, project accounts will not be closed since they have different protocols they follow while opening them, especially with the donors.
Early this year, Government undertook the integration of the Academic Information Management System –AIMS with the URA’s revenue collection system.
AIMS is an integrated information system designed and customized to meet the unique needs of educational institutions, with focus on computerization of student information management, fees collection and maintenance of student records as well as generation of daily and periodic reports.
This system is currently operational in the public universities of Makerere, Kyambogo, Busitema, Muni, Gulu, Kabale, Soroti, Lira, Uganda Management Institute –UMI, Makerere University Business School –MUBS, Mbarara University of Science and Technology –MUST. It is also scheduled for integration by August at the Law Development Centre –LDC.
Although this takeover is rooted to enhance transparency and efficiency in addition to accountability, student leaders at public universities say they are considering suing government for committing an illegality.
They argue that their universities are autonomous and self-accounting institutions that would not require institutions like URA to collect students’ fees.
Romulus Tusingwire the Guild President of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) has for instance with scepticism criticized the said takeover citing prolonging money releases for student activities.
Julius Kateregga, the Makerere University Guild President has appealed to government to rethink the move to allow URA to take over fees collection, lest they mobilise for student strikes in public universities.
Eron Kiiza, of Kiiza & Mugisha Advocates, says that the students had contacted them about the matter but they were still weighing the legal options.
“The matter is still at consultation stage. Nothing concrete yet,” Kiiza said.
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere Vice-Chancellor says however that there is no disruption to the business processes of public universities and tertiary institutions.
“The end-user will experience no change in the existing processes and procedure. Hence URA is not taking over university operations but only providing a platform for revenue collection and reporting,” Professor Nawangwe discloses.