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Makerere suspends staff promotions amid financial crisis

FILE PHOTO: Professor Barnabas Nawangwe

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University has suspended all staff promotions and new recruitments, as a result of a 250 Shillings budget shortfall.

Information gathered by URN indicates that in December 2018, the Makerere University Appointments Board led by Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, while winding up its term of office, promoted and recruited a large number of staff basing erroneous assumptions.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe says that two major errors were made during the said exercise. The appointments were made against positions that had fallen vacant in the previous year and it was assumed that all stop-gap staff (approximately 200 staff) would cease with effect from March 31 2019.

The effect was a salary shortage of 7.59 billion Shillings, as a result of promotion of 170 academic staff, recruitment of 109 academic staff and 127 who were originally on short term contracts.  Towards the end of the last financial year, staff experienced delays in salaries, which was attributed to the same salary shortfall.

Nawangwe faults Charles Barugahare, the then university accounting officer for failing to advise the Appointments Board. He, however, says the university management together with the Ministry of Finance, is handling the arising shortfall.

“While management is engaging the Ministry of Finance on this matter, it is clear that the current policy on promotions, delinks promotions from the established positions and largely disregards the budget, which is unsustainable, Professor Nawangwe said in a July university management report.

URN has accessed a copy of a report of the Finance, Planning, administration and Investment Committee released in June where there is reported general lack of funds that led to the delayed release of recess term and internship, bringing into question the university’s commitment to its core activities.

The report signed by the University Human Resources Director Andrew Abunyang and the Finance, Planning, administration and Investment Committee chairperson Bruce Balaba Kabaasa also reported a significant deficit in the budget for a wage during the for financial years 2019/2019 and 2019/2020.

Makerere spends approximately 166.78 billion Shillings annually on wages for its over 3,000 staff.

The university is also grappling with a debt burden from the previous years which is attributed to inadequate resources especially for the non-wage component, and low unit cost paid by private students and high costs of goods and services.

For instance, as of March 31, this year, the university had outstanding domestic arrears amounting to 50.99 billion Shillings from employee costs, in-house retirement, goods and services consumed and project borrowings.

Additionally, URN last month reported a story in which the university failed to remit funds totalling 1.18 billion Shillings to cater for students’ allowances, internship supervision, fieldwork and industrial workshops as well as engagement of external examiners, teaching practice, recess term, payment of government-sponsored student internship and food allowances among others.



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