Uganda: Govt Finalises Plan to Harmonise Salaries

The government yesterday issued detailed guidelines on implementation of the planned merger of up to 97 agencies, expected to result in massive job losses. Figures of employees who will be affected were not immediately available.

In a statement to Parliament, the State Minister for Public Service, Mr David Karubanga, said arrangements are in the offing to harmonise job grades and pay across ministries, departments and agencies.

The news would be a sweetener to public service employees who have long complained about disparate remuneration for people doing similar job and holding similar qualifications and experience.

Civil society and scholars, among others, have unsuccessfully pressed the government to establish a Salary Review Commission envisaged under the Constitution to regularise pay for public servants.

It remained unclear under what law or constitutional framework the government is proceeding to cure the salary disparities.

Mr Karubanga told legislators that some of the agencies targeted for reform will revert to 18 mother ministries to avoid duplication and to reduce bloated administration costs.

"In 2015, the government passed a resolution to freeze further creation of agencies and authorities because it was realised there were continuous creations that had not realised the intended objective," he said.

Mr Karubanga was yesterday summoned to explain modalities of effecting the merger of selected government agencies given that most of them were established by Acts of Parliament.

President Museveni in his July 17, 2017 letter raised the red flag on mushrooming agencies and demanded clear practical recommendations to rationalise public institutions and ensure efficiency of government. Subsequently, the Cabinet on February 22 this year reactivated its earlier decision to merge and rationalise statutory agencies, commissions, authorities and public expenditure to facilitate efficient and effective service delivery.

Mr Karubanga said the government is slated to start implementation of the merger in the next financial year, which starts on July 1, starting with the harmonisation of pay across the services.

The process involves a comprehensive job evaluation across the service to determine their worth.

"The second undertaking is to facilitate the design of a harmonised salary structure of the entire public service. We shall carry out a job analysis and grading in all the agencies and come up with one salary structure," Mr Karubanga said.

He added: "The third is identifying and re-engineering major dysfunctional operational and management systems in ministries, department and agencies to facilitate improved service delivery."

Cabinet sources told this newspaper that the government plans to review the legal and policy framework to ensure that agencies that were created by Acts of Parliament and the Constitution are not affected by the planned reforms.

As a result, the government has stalled a decision on the fate of 11 statutory commissions, including the Law Reform Commission, Uganda Land Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Education Service Commission, and Health Service Commission, pending legal clarity.

The government plans to introduce an omnibus Bill for the 11th Parliament to consider after it is inaugurated later this month. The legislation will, among other things, resolve legal, administrative and financial implications of the rationalisation exercise.

Minister Karubanga disclosed that the government has also already put in place a compensation mechanism for staff who will be dropped as well as a blueprint for recruiting more suitable replacements.

The organisational structure of 97 agencies and 18 ministries will be reviewed during the wide-ranging rationalisation exercise.

Under this plan, the government will review the mandate, structure and functions of each agency, carry out data, function and workload review before streamlining and re-organising their structure.

Government will also implement the revised structures of agencies where affected employees will be validated for deployment and replacement.

Highly-placed sources said there are plans to develop a comprehensive administrative reform model for Uganda to coordinate public service reforms for the next 10 years.

Some of the government agencies to be merged

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