Parliament — The Ministry of Finance has denied responsibility for the delayed payment of workers in 78 districts.
Finance minister Matia Kasaija appeared in Parliament yesterday following complaints from Workers MP Margaret Rwabushaija and Ngora County MP David Abala.
Mr Kasaija said it is the district local governments to blame for all delays in salary payments.
"Salaries and wages of government workers have the first call on the budget. We can suspend and refuse to pay anything but I must pay salaries and wages of public servants," Mr Kasaija told legislators yesterday.
The minister's submission was triggered by a concern from Mr Abala, who said government workers in Ngora District had gone for two months without salaries.
"Mr Speaker, even the Bible states that 'all hard work brings profits but mere talk leads to poverty... ,' I am reading this in relation to the non-payment of salaries for civil servants in Ngora District," Mr Abala said.
"The workers are complaining and struggling and I am told that there are many other districts in a similar situation," he added.
He tasked Mr Kasaija to explain why the workers had not been paid and many pensioners have remained unattended to.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, asked the minister to address the workers' grievances.
In response, Mr Kasaija said: "I can assure this House that when we released money for this quarter last month, wages and salaries were disbursed to the various districts."
However, Mr David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning, said there could have been glitches that affected the pay and promised to follow up the matter quickly.
According Ms Rwabushaija, civil servants in 78 districts have missed their pay for April.
Some of the affected districts include Iganga, Mayuge, Namutumba, Bugiri, Ngora, Bulambuli, Butaleja, Mbale and others in the south, west and Karamoja regions.