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“We are not happy”: CAOs demand 13.5m salary increment

FILE PHOTO: Representating the accounting officers, Dunstan Balaba

Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) have demanded a monthly gross pay of Shs 13.5 million up from the net Shs 1.7 million they currently earn.

The CAOs who are the accounting officers for the Ministry of Local Government at the district level say they handle large amounts of money and are custodians of service delivery yet their pay is not commensurate with the tasks.

Their counterparts, the Town Clerks, have also asked for a pay rise from Shs 1.3 million to Shs 11.3 million citing similar reasons.

The accounting officers from nine districts including Arua, Gulu, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja, Kampala, Mbarara, Masaka and Fort Portal raised the concern on 26 April 2018 during a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee-Local Government in Parliament to consider the Auditor General’s Report and opinion for 2016/2017.

In attendance were the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi and the Auditor General, John Muwanga.

The Representative of the accounting officers, Dunstan Balaba who is the CAO of Kabarole district said that increasing their salaries will require an additional Shs 25 billion annually on the budget of the Local Government Ministry.

“It is really in all fairness that these resources are given to us to motivate us to adequately deliver services. We are not happy,” said Balaba.

He added that service delivery at Local Government level is constrained by under funding.

For his part, the secretary to treasury who doubles as the permanent secretary, ministry of finance, Keith Muhakanizi blamed the financial constraints in Local Governments to the increasing number of districts.

“We can increase the funding to Local Governments but we need to halt creation of new districts if we are to realize adequate resources,” Muhakanizi said.

He applauded the accounting officers over improved accountability in the past five years.

“For those of you who have been complaining that I have been bullying you over accountability, I am sorry I will continue because it has improved accountability,” said Muhakanizi.

Last month, the Ministry of Finance directed the Local Government ministry to sack 61 district Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and Municipal Council Town Clerks for failing to submit accountability for budget funds as required by the law.

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