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Proposed KCCA salaries rattle education, health
ONE ruling from the Solicitor General stands between Kampala teachers and a hefty pay-cheque.

 By John Semakula

ONE ruling from the Solicitor General stands between Kampala teachers and a hefty pay-cheque.
President Yoweri Museveni this month approved the salary structure for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), with the lowest paid employee (tea girl) earning sh1.1m.
According to the structure, teachers are in the range of sh3.3m and sh13m. 
Grade III teachers in Kampala earn between sh270,000 and sh280,000, depending on how long they have been in the service, while grade five teachers get around sh340,000.  
The KCCA Act includes teachers and health workers among the employees of the authority and the question now is on whose terms they should serve – the teaching (or health) service commissions or KCCA. 
The Ministry of Public Service has written to the Solicitor General asking for a pronouncement on whether to include them on the KCCA salary structure.
The commissioner for human resources in the Ministry of Public Service, J. Nanseera, told Saturday Vision on Monday that the Solicitor General was yet to give feedback. 
“I have been at the Solicitor General’s office and I was told that he was not ready. I am not sure when he will be ready, but we can’t do anything without his pronouncement,” Nanseera said. 
The ministry is in the process of drafting an administrative structure for KCCA to pave way for the recruitment of over 1,000 employees. 
According to the KCCA Act, teachers and health workers are recruited by the health and education service commissions to serve the authority. 
If the Solicitor General agrees, a head teacher of a secondary school may earn sh11m, while his counterpart in a primary school may pocket about sh7.5m.
Some may earn up to sh7.5m depending on whether they are secondary or primary school teachers and on whether they have other responsibilities. Health workers may also earn along those lines.   
However, the issue has divided the group drafting the administrative structure. Those supporting it argue that teachers and health workers have a right to better pay like other KCCA employees. They also believe if teachers are excluded from the structure, they may petition court.  
But another camp argues that including the teachers and health would significantly increase KCCA’s wage bill and cause unnecessary demands for salary increments by teachers and health workers in other districts. According to KCCA, there are over 3,000 teachers and health workers in Kampala. 
Last week, the ministry called a meeting to draft the administrative structures for KCCA, but it did not yield anything because of the issue of the teachers’ and health workers’ salaries, a source said.  
The meeting was attended by representatives from the ministries of education, health, public service, finance, the Public Service Commission and KCCA. Nanseera said they resolved to wait for the Solicitor General’s say before proceeding.
Sources said the Ministry of Public Service had recommended a small salary structure for KCCA, which was reportedly rejected by its executive director Jennifer Musisi.    
When contacted for a comment, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago declined to comment, saying he had many concerns on the matter. 
Lukwago has in the past complained about earning less than half (sh16m) of Musisi’s salary (sh36m). KCCA spokesperson Peter Kaujju also said he was waiting for the opinion of the Solicitor General. 
But interpreting the law by the Solicitor General takes time. When Saturday Vision asked for a comment, we were asked to write a letter and expect feedback in three weeks.
Activists argue that teachers in Kampala have different challenges from their colleagues in the rest of country, like meeting transport costs and buying costly food, so they should be included on the structure.
Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, the MP for Kalungu West, said it was compulsory for the teachers to be part of the new structure.
Aggrey Kibenge, the Ministry of Education undersecretary, said they would not take a position on the matter until the Solicitor General’s pronouncement. “The Ministry of Education has little to do with the salaries of teachers. It is the Ministry of Public Service that determines salaries and even if we take a position, the final decision will come from the other ministry.”
Countrywide, there are over 120,000 and 20,000 primary and secondary school teachers on the government payroll, respectively.    
If health workers are paid according the the current KCCA structure, a doctor will earn about sh8m. 
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Asuman Lukwago, said it would be a disaster because a doctor earning sh7m, would be earning five times more than him and three times more than the head of public service. 
He noted that they wanted better, but balanced remuneration for all the health workers in the country to maintain harmony in the ministry. 
“If KCCA adopts the new salary structure for its health workers, others working elsewhere will abandon their jobs and strikes will sweep the ministry. We don’t want this to happen because we shall not be able to handle the situation,” Lukwago said.