President Yoweri Museveni may have to use his relationship with Cuba again in the near future to get the country new lecturers, after those of public universities sounded warning that institutions will not open in August, 2018 if government goes back on their promise to allocate them Uganda shillings 108 billion for salary enhancement.
Under their umbrella - Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities in Uganda (FASPU), the leaders of 10 public universities academic staff convened a meeting at Makarere University Business School (MUBS) today where they resolved that they will go on strike unless allocated Uganda shilling 108 billion for salary enhancement.
They have reminded State Minister for Finance, David Bahati of the commitment that government made last year. This 108 billion is composed of 58 billion salary enhancement that they were supposed to receive during 2017/18 financial year and the 50 billion that they are supposed to receive in the 2018/19 financial year.
According to the new plan in the 2018/19 financial year, a university professor is expected to earn a gross of salary of Uganda shilling 15 million as promised by President Museveni in 2013. Currently a university professor earns Uganda shilling 8.5 million. Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) chairperson, Dr Deus Muhwezi Kamunyu explains that the 108 billion they are demanding will take a professor to 15 million if allocated.
He says since the minister made a commitment, it should be fulfilled, lest opening of universities in August will be held back by an industrial action. He says lecturers will wait for the July pay slips - where the new financial year is effected - if the salary of a professor isn't 15 billion, a resolution to lay down tools will be effected.
Now, a report of the sectorial committee on education and sports for the financial year 2018/19 has also recommended that government should provide money for salary enhancement to avert anticipated strikes. The committee further called for harmonization of salaries of public universities.
"The committee recommends that Ministry of Education and Sports should harmonise salary structure in all public universities and halt the acquisition of new universities until funds are got for full payment of public universities staff salaries," the report reads.