Kampala — Science teachers whose salary was increased to Shs2m have been asked to refund the money on account that the payment was made in error.
Mr Filbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) General Secretary, yesterday said the affected teachers are from the districts of Ibanda, Mbale, Kabale and Mbarara and Entebbe municipalities.
"Some science teachers, who were paid Shs2m, have been asked to refund the money because it was not in the budget. What was in the budget was the 20 per cent salary increment for post-primary teachers; the last installment from the promised phased salary increment of 2011," Mr Baguma told Daily Monitor yesterday.
One of the teachers in Mbarara, who received the money in August, said she is now enduring the burden of paying it back in the next four months.
The teacher, who requested for anonymity, said they first got the 20 per cent increment in July but saw the amount increased to Shs2m.
"I was excited when I found Shs1.6m on my account in August. I started planning and got a loan of Shs800,000 knowing I would pay. But there was a circular later that there was an error. The district officials said they will recover the money from those who received the increment of Shs2m in the next four months. I started paying back in September," the teacher said.
However, Mr Baguma said while President Museveni made a proposal to increase science teachers' salaries to Shs2.2m per month, as a union, they negotiated that government first honours its earlier commitment of a phased salary increment for all teachers before embarking on a new strategy. He said under the National Negotiating and Consultative Council chaired by Public Service, they agreed that all teachers irrespective of their teaching subjects get a salary increment in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Mr Baguma also said a graduate science teacher is expected to earn Shs2.2m from the current Shs600,000 while their counterparts in the arts subjects will take Shs1.7m.
Commenting on the errors, the Mbarara chief administrative officer, Mr Cuthbert Esoku said: "The initial payroll Public Service sent had errors. But before we pay, we cleaned it. We adjusted our payroll. So we do not have such problems."
Mr Edmund Ntimba, the Kabale deputy chief administrative officer, yesterday said their increment catered for whoever was a scientist except the controversy that surrounded the civil service allowance which had been increased but later dropped.
"The controversial money was the civil service allowance. For instance, if you have been invited for a workshop, there is a night, day and transport allowance depending on the grade," Mr Ntimba said.
"There was a decision from Public Service to revert to the old one and drop the earlier proposed increment. Kabale was only affected on the duty facilitation but we could not ask the people to refund the money because there was already another circular which allowed us to increase," he added.
Kabale District Education Officer Mr Sabiiti Baabo was concerned that the variation in the salaries for the science teachers against their colleagues in the arts subjects had already triggered administrative challenges.