PS, Ministry of Finance Keith Muhakanizi

The Ministry of Finance has declined to provide about Shs1.5 trillion for pay enhancement of public officers in the financial year 2020/21 and instead told the workers to wait until after 2021 general elections, saying other circumstances obtaining cannot allow the pay rise.

“The purpose of this letter is…to inform you that there is no fiscal space to accommodate the above funding requirement for salary enhancement in the budget for FY 2020/21. Given the above circumstances, the proposed salary enhancement should be postponed until after the General elections in 2021,” the Permanent Secretary /Secretary to the treasury, Keith Muhakanizi says in a letter dated November 11, 2019 and addressed to his counterpart in public service  ministry.

Muhakanizi in the letter urges workers to wait, saying that the 2021 general elections which require additional Shs704.6 billion, as well as commitments to the on-going projects in roads and energy, cannot be stopped in favour of the civil servants’ pay rise.

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He further says he cannot avail the funds for enhancement of workers’ salaries as the budget for the financial year 2019/20 is already constrained with a projected revenue shortfall of 1.5 trillion by end of June 2020.

“On the account…above the projected revenue for FY 2020/21 will not be able to accommodate and sustain additional requirement for salary enhancement,” Muhakanizi says.

The Ministry of Public Service wants about Shs1.2 trillion to pay government scientists, teaching staff of public universities and health workers in the financial year 2020/21. About Shs280.2 billion is also required in the same financial year for enhancement of salaries of other categories of civil servants.

Despite holding several meetings over the same issue, the two ministries have failed to identify where they can get the extra money for the salary increment of the targeted civil servants in the coming financial year.

Further, Muhakanizi says that over 364 sub counties, 352 town councils created between 2016 and 2019, and the 10 cities proposed to be created require Shs205 billion and Shs68 billion respectively, even when the money is not in the proposed budget for the coming financial year.

“The operationalization of the above administrative units will require increased funding for wage and other related administrative costs,” he says adding that the existing local governments are still grappling with the challenges inadequate staff, which is affecting service delivery.

In the same letter, among others, Muhakanizi recommends that government expedites the establishment of a Salary Review Commission or Board to review the pay structure to address pay disparities across the entire public service and come up with a harmonised remuneration of all public servants.