Government Commission Questions Disparities in Public Servants Salaries

Government’s own Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) this week launched its annual report, drugs concernedly highlighting a growing gap in the remuneration of government employees, treatment especially in civil service.

The EOC is established by the Equal Opportunities Commission Act (2007) to give effect to the State’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons, and take affirmative action in favor of marginalized groups marginalized for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters”.

The Commission stressed in the report that the huge differences among the highest and lowest paid officers in the different Government Institutions in Uganda, was in direct breach of the national constitution’s Article 40, which requires Parliament to enact laws to provide for the rights of persons to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions, to ensure equal payment for equal work without discrimination.

The findings of the report brought back to the fore the growing criticism of government’s failure to set a minimum wage for all workers across the country.

In the absence of a minimum wage, the commission warned, many workers in employment are getting frustrated and opting to quit their jobs because they are incurring high costs in addition to being paid sums that are not commensurate to the amount of work that they do.

Among the country’s highest paid officers is the Governor Bank of Uganda who takes home up to Shs. 53.3 million per month, and the Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority who earns Shs. 40.9million.

Others are the Executive Director NSSF (39million) Executive Director UCC (36.9Million), Executive Director KCCA (36Million) Auditor General (36million) and General Manager National Medical Stores (35million).

On the lowest end of this list are Ministry Permanent Secretaries who earn Shs. 3.7million,  CAO and Accountant Generals who take home only 2.3million.


The Commission notes from this list that some officials earn three-to-twenty two times more than their counterparts in other public enterprises.

“In some cases junior staff in certain entities, surprisingly, earn more than CEOs. A case in point; a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance or any other Ministry earns 9% of what Commissioner General in URA earns and 7% of what the Governor earns.”

“The top most paid officials in Bank of Uganda, URA, NSSF, UCC, KCCA, OAG, NMS, NITA, UETCL, NWSC and CAA are receiving salaries, in the range of USh.30- 54 million per month, while the Chief Justice is paid USh.5 million a month,” the report pointed out.

On the political side, the same challenges surface. At the local government level, the highest paid person in the district chairman who earns 2.08million shillings per month. The least paid on the other hand is the Municipal division chairman who earns Shs. 312,000.

In this regard, the annual difference between the highest paid local government political leader and the lowest paid leader is USh.21,216,000 annually. In other words, it takes 7 years for the lowest paid political leader to earn what the highest paid political leader earns in 1 year.

Meanwhile the lower level public servants such as government teachers and medics continue to bear the brunt of these disparities.

It is said that Uganda’s 160,000 teachers are among the worst paid public workers in the East African region.

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission Report, Primary school teachers in Uganda earn an average 270,000 shillings a month and their secondary school counterparts take home an average of 470,000 shillings.

The Commission warned that there is an urgent need to harmonize the salary structures in government in order to get rid of the disparities.

“The most logical starting point is to fast track the operationalisation Public Salaries Review Board which will study the current arrangement in order to arrive at a single spine salary structure, which will determine remuneration across the board, to eliminate gross inequalities, discrimination and marginalization anomalies and establish comparability between different posts.”

“Countries like Ghana have already established single spine salary structures and Uganda could gain from their experience. Kenya has also started on the harmonization process, following the adoption of the new Constitution. Gone are the days when Kenyan MPs had a mandate to determine their own emoluments, making them among the highest paid legislators in the world.”

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