By Innocent Anguyo
The Makerere University Council, the institution’s top decision making organ, has until the end of Friday to pay about sh7.4b in allowance arrears owed to the staff.
The staff last week vowed not to report to work in the next academic year, if they did not receive their top up allowance for the last two months by tomorrow. The new academic year starts in August.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University deputy vice-chancellor in charge of finance and administration said the institution did not have the money to pay the incentives just yet.
Despite the management’s stand that there wasn’t much in the institution’s granary to offer to the staff as incentive, on Wednesday, the staff echoed their earlier stand in a meeting at Makerere University.
The meeting was attended by the executives of the three staff associations- Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), National Union of Educational Institutions (NUEI) and Makerere Administrative Staff Association (MASA).
In an interview with the New Vision shortly after the meeting, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, the chairperson of the general staff assembly said they were aware that the university had money and that it was the management that wasn’t keen on offsetting the incentive arrears.
“The staff have been working but they haven’t been paid for the last two months. We have written to council, requesting them to direct the council to pay us immediately,’’ said Dr. Kiggundu.
Sources at the university said the management would not pay the arrears until the incoming first year students pay their tuition fees, which is a principal source of Makerere’s finances.
However, the 90-year old university is yet to release the list of students admitted under the private sponsorship scheme. Application to be considered for admission under scheme closed last week.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the incoming first year students would part with an additional 10% tuition fees. The university plans to admit 20,000 students on private.
Kiggundu is opposed to the idea of the university relying on tuition to meet its financial obligations, beseeching the management to explore alternative resource mobolisation schemes such as creating a private wing at the University Hospital and developing Makerere’s idle lands.
Ritah Namisango, the senior Makerere University publicist said: “I trust that the council will resolve the issue so that the University opens as scheduled.”
A source on the council said they had written to the university management, requesting them to meet the staff at 10:00am tomorrow, to discuss the issue.
Last year, Makerere University Council made a 70% allowance increment for all staff in a bid to motivate them but the implementation of the scheme has never been seamless, due to shortage of finances. The allowance is paid using internally-sources money.
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