New pay raises proposed in the budget framework are stirring up excitement and receiving big endorsements from teachers, judges and medical practitioners.
Medical workers will receive 100% pay raise across all levels if the proposals get the much-needed nod of approval. According to a list seen by The Observer, a senior medical consultant shall earn Shs 17,400,000, up from Shs 7,300,000.
A medical consultant’s pay cheque will bulge to Shs 12,700,000, up from Shs 6,000,000 and a principal medical officer will earn Shs 8,000,000, up from Shs 4,500,000.
An enrolled nurse will earn Shs 1,300,000, up from Shs 613,000. Interviewed for a comment on Monday, Samuel Oledo, president of the Uganda Medical Association, said the 100 per cent pay raise would motivate medical workers who sacrifice a lot to uplift the standards of Uganda’s medical sector. Oledo emphasized that doctors will eagerly wait for May 2022, for the new salaries to be approved for the new financial year.
Oledo said, “We welcome the new changes in the salaries. Away from the salaries, we are expecting the 69 vehicles for our senior medical consultants as well.”
He warned, though, that if the pay raise structure is not approved, it would trigger the “mother of all industrial actions” never witnessed in Uganda. Primary head teachers, according to the new proposals, will earn Shs 4,800,000, up from Shs 980,000 and secondary head teachers’ pay will climb to Shs 10,000,000, from Shs 2,300,000. Grade III primary teachers will earn about Shs 1.3m, up from Shs 568,000.
Interviewed for this story, Allan Rugadya, the head teacher of Shimoni Demonstration School, said the new pay cheques will motivate teachers to improve output and the quality of education offered in government schools.
For the already highly paid judicial officers, the registrar of the courts of judicature will earn Shs 18,500,000, up from Shs 10,500,000, chief magistrates will get Shs 14,000,000, up from Shs 7,500,000, the solicitor general will now earn Shs 20,000,000, up from Shs 15.4 million. The least paid judicial officer is the state attorney. He or she earns Shs 1,258,000.
The permanent secretaries’ pay is expected to climb to Shs 20,000,000 from Shs 15.4 million, directors will earn Shs 17.4 million, up from Shs 2.3 million, chief administrative officers will pocket Shs 17.4 million, up from Shs 3.6 million and police constables will earn Shs 1,350,000, up from 497,000
In the last 10 years, government has grappled with several strike actions sanctioned by different associations and unions of nurses, teachers, medical doctors and judicial officers.
Between 2013 and 2021, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) sanctioned four industrial actions; the Uganda Judicial Officers Association sanctioned two between 2017 and 2019 while the Uganda Medical Association had two industrial actions between 2017 and 2021. These industrial actions have always been triggered by low pay and poor working conditions.
In the aftermath of the disastrous November-December 2021 industrial action by doctors gainst low pay, poor working conditions and absence of personal protective gear in government facilities, the government pledged to increase salaries of medical officers to Shs 5 million, senior medical consultants (Shs 17m), and intern doctors (Shs 2.5m).
Intern doctors currently earn Shs 750, 000, medical officers (Shs 3m) and consultants (Shs 7.3m). It is hoped that these new increments will address the recurrent strikes that have dogged Uganda’s health, education and judicial sector.