Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University is in a dilemma to find money to pay 121 staff whose salary arrears have accumulated to Shillings 14.6 billion in the past one year. The affected include 73 administrative staff recruited by the University Appointments Board in 2018 but are not on the payroll and 48 others whose salaries haven’t been adjusted to correspond to their new ranks, months after their promotion.
In July 2019, Makerere suspended all staff promotions and new recruitments as a result of budget shortfalls. Our reporter has since established that staff who were recruited but are not yet on the payroll caused a wage implication of Shillings 2.7 billion before salary enhancement and to a tune of Shillings 2.8 billion after enhancement was factored in.
URN has also established that 48 staff who were initially on the payroll and were appointed to higher positions but their salaries haven’t been adjusted due to the funding gap left a wage gap of Shillings 1.07 billion before enhancement and Shillings 1.12 billion after enhancement.
Following the financial crisis and underpayment, Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe appointed a Human Resource Audit Committee last year to examine the staff and wage situation of the University. Management also commissioned an audit of the University Payroll following a request of the Finance, Planning, Administration and Investment Committee (FPAIC) of Council, according to a URN report of June 5, 2019.
Details of the job audit show that Makerere University had a total number of 3,410 staff at the end of 2019. This included 2,803 staff appointed on permanent terms and 314 staff on contract. The combined total of both categories represents the number of staff who are supposed to be paid from the payroll based on their appointment letters or contracts. However, this reporter established that at least 121 administrative and other staff can’t get salaries due to budget shortfalls.
The rest of the staff numbering 137 are currently under stop gap. Currently, the University has 156 part-timers. The University Management reports on the wage deficit links the problem to Appointments Board decisions reached in December 2018 under the leadership of Bruce Balaba Kabaasa.
Accordingly, the Technical team led by Yusuf Kiranda, the Acting University Secretary comprising of University Bursar, Director Human Resources, Director Internal Audit, Manager Records & Information, Head Payroll and the Head Salaries was also tasked to refer to the respective decisions of the Appointments Board and report on actions taken by Management.
Working in close co-operation with advocate Kiryowa Kiwanuka, a member of the Council Adhoc Committee on the Human Resource and Payroll Audit, the team established the total calculated wage for the 3,117 staff as Shillings. 172.7billion. Following the salary enhancement that was implemented by the Public Service Ministry, the annual calculated wage for Financial Year 2019/2020 rose to Shs.179.1 billion. However, these figures didn’t include the 10% employer’s contribution to social security which is budgeted for under non-wage.
Parliament appropriated Shs.166.78billion for Makerere university wages for the 2019/2020 Financial Year. The direct implication of this appropriation was that the University had a wage deficit of Shs.5.96 billion in the Financial Year prior to salary enhancement.
This deficit however would later increase to Shs. 13.29 billion after the government enhanced the salaries of staff. This however excluded social security costs, which were budgeted for under non-wage. Currently, Makerere University is paying the 137 stop-gap staff who have valid contracts for both the Centre and Colleges/Units to a tune of Shs.3.14 billion annually. These would require an annual wage of Shs. 5.086 billion if they were to be appointed and access the payroll.
The University argues that the money would increase because the staff under stop gap arrangements is paid a lower rate than the payroll rate. Additionally, Makerere currently spends Shs. 3.4 billion on its 156 part-time staff employed for teaching functions in the Colleges. These are paid on hourly basis. However, the University would need an annual bill of Shs.11.4 billion if the part-time staff were to be appointed on full time basis and added on the payroll.
The 2016 Visitation Committee to Makerere University advised Management to undertake a comprehensive review of its current staff records and payroll with a view of eliminating staff who have left and those who were irregularly hired. This was after the task force failed to establish with certainty the exact number of employees in the University. The probe had observed that some employees, especially cleaners whose services were outsourced were still on the University payroll. And as a result, the University is making double payments. URN has established that the university has deleted 50 staff from the institution payroll majority of whom retired between July to December last year. Others who were deleted from the payroll had either died, resigned or completed their contracts.