Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has been tasked to explain a recent decision by the management of Vision Group, the publishers of New Vision and Bukedde newspaper to effect salary cuts for all members of staff. Government is the majority shareholder in the company with 53 per cent shareholding.
The pay cuts, which take effect this month was announced in communication made last week, by the Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga, indicating that for the first time in 16 years,’ the management has taken drastic measures to reduce the wage bill, as a measure to keep the business viable.
According to the communication, Persons earning above 19 million will get a 60 per cent pay cut, those earning between eight and 19 million will take a 45 per cent cut while those earning below 8 million Shillings will take a 40 per cent salary cut.
But Nwoya Woman MP Adong Lilly questioned why an entity in which government is the majority shareholder is reducing staff salaries at a time when journalists are serving the nation during the lockdown and demanded government intervention to save the staff.
Margaret Rwabushaija, a Workers representative in Parliament said that the New Vision had benefited from different government projects during the current COVID-19 crisis and that it was expected that the funds would help the management run the Publication without deducting the salaries of workers. She said that Vision Group was setting a bad example for other companies.
New Vision, a government parastatal recently benefited from 15 billion Shillings for the printing of transport stickers a project under the Ministry of Works and Transport. The company also benefited from 12 billion Shillings meant for printing learning materials by the Ministry of Education and another 1 billion Shillings from the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology towards the fight against Coronavirus. The Company also offers printing services to other organizations in the Public.
David Bahati, the Minister of Finance for Planning said that his Ministry had received the salary reduction information and that he had engaged the CEO who confirmed that in April, the Publication revenue had reduced by 50 per cent. He, however, said that despite challenges in the income, the government was engaging the management to see how the government can intervene.