All State attorneys under the Attorney General’s Chamber have joined their counterparts from the Director of Public prosecution (DPP) to demand for salary enhancement.
In a petition dated 04th July submitted to Gen. Kahinda Otafiire the minister of Justice and constitutional affairs, state attorneys are demanding a monthly salary of UGX.12 Million to match their heavy work load and put them at per as those in private practice since they are barred to any private practice.
The attorneys highlight several reasons for the enhancement which involve boosting their moral towards work, curtail possible Vulnerability to temptations given the sensitivity and huge amounts of money involved in the files/ matters that they handle, and Perpetual financial distress resulting into continuous financial embarrassment contrary to Public Service standing orders.
Currently, a State Attorney earns a monthly salary of about UGX. 978,880=
In this plea, they cited a simple scenario where they show the state of financial distress and despair of a State Attorney who earns a meager salary that is less a million Uganda shillings and yet are expected to defend Government in cases that involve billions of shillings.
“If he/she rents a modest house within Kampala or Wakiso, the going rate is at 500,000/=. He/she will be left with a net balance of 484,500/= to meet all other needs including school fees for children, food, transport and, medical and utility bills.” The petition reads in part.
They indicated to the Minister that the salaries and allowances of legal officers in the Uganda Law Reform, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, Bank of Uganda and other legal departments are not comparable to what State Attorneys earn.
” This explains the high turnover of highly skilled and experienced State Attorneys who leave to join other Government agencies and the private sector that remunerate better”, the State Attorneys explains..
|Designation||Basic pay||Payee||Net pay per Month|
|UG Shs||UG Shs.||UG Shs.|
|Senior State Attorney||1,578,720||375,616||1,203,104|
|Principal State Attorney||2,104,960||533,488||1571,472|
|Senior Principal State Attorney||2,428,712||628712||1,800,000|
|Solicitor General||15,400,000||4,000,000||11, 400,000|
They also indicate that for a long time now, State Attorneys have been demanding for an increased pay or salary to match the current prevailing economic trends and to enable them perform their duties diligently while at the same time satisfying the basic needs of life.
“Since then the salaries of all the other categories except State Attorneys were revised upwards. This situation has culminated into an atmosphere which breeds low morale amongst staff and has affected the working environment with all State Attorneys in a state of perpetual financial distress and despair contrary to the Constitution and the Public Service Standing orders, 2010”.
|Designation||Gross Salary Per Month
|Net Pay Per Month
|Senior State Attorney||16,000,000||11,200,000|
|Principal State Attorney||18,000,000||12,600,000|
|Solicitor General/ Deputy Solicitor General||28,000,000||19,600,000|
The proposed salary structure.
Comparison With other Remuneration Scales.
The Attorney General and the Solicitor General are Head and Deputy Head of the Bar, respectively. The Attorney General chambers is therefore the leading law firm in the country. When remuneration of State Attorneys in the Attorney General’s Chambers is compared to the remuneration in private practice below, it is apparent that lawyers in the Attorney General’s Chambers are least remunerated.
Different law Chambers have different remuneration packages but on average the chambers pay the following-
APPROXIMATE NET PAY PER MONTH
|Designation||Net Pay per Month|
|Partners (10+ Years)||11,000,0000-15,000,000|
|Senior Partners||20,000,000 +|
As noted by the Equal Opportunities Commission Study Report on Salaries Disparities in the Public Service of May, 2017 there are disparities in the remuneration of legal officers/ cadre in different Government Departments like the Parliamentary Commission, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, Bank of Uganda, Office of the Auditor General, National Social Security Fund etc.
These Government agencies offer more attractive remuneration to their legal officers than State Attorneys who incidentally often have the same qualifications as State Attorneys and in the course of their duties these better-paying agencies depend on the advice of the Attorney General Chambers to do their work, through legal opinions, representation in Court, drafting legal instruments among others.
Thus, currently there is wide salary disparities between the traditional civil service who includes State Attorneys and statutory bodies established by Acts of Parliament. For instance, a director in a Government Ministry earns UGX. 2,369,300 per month while a deputy director in KCCA earns UGX. 27,000,000 per month.
It should be noted that all the Government departments with or without legal departments rely on the Attorney Generals Chambers in executing their duties. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the cases explains why State Attorneys are not allowed to carry out private legal practice.
“It is important to have salary enhancement so that we are not forced to supplement our income elsewhere thus giving divided attention to our work. With the kind of experience acquired from the Attorney General’s Chambers after 3 years of work, one is qualified to be a partner in a leading law firm and therefore his or her salary should be commensurate to reflect this”, the concluded.
Following the concern, timely intervention, and directive, of H.E. the President, then Hon. Dr. E. Suruma, (the then Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development), reminded the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service that in his letter Ref: BPD 86/150/01 dated 24th July 2006, he had forwarded “the issue of inadequate capacity and remuneration of State Attorneys in the Attorney General’s Chambers and advised that the matter be addressed during the preparation of the budget for 2007/08”. (Letter Ref: HRM/155/222/01 dated 14th November 2006 addressed to Hon. Henry M.Kajura, 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service).
In the FY2007/08, the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury by his letter dated 5th May 2007 provided Ugs 5 Billion for enhancement of salaries for State Attorneys in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The directive of the President was blatantly ignored. Instead of enhancing the salaries of the State Attorneys in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Ministry of Public Service arbitrarily “placed the money in a pool” and distributed it amongst officers in the Directorate of Public Prosecution’s Office, Uganda Law Reform Commission and the Judiciary. This was contrary to the presidential directive which position was stated in the letter from the Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Treasury to the Ministry of Public Service.
H.E The President again in November 2016 directed the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to increase the salaries of government lawyers in the Financial year 2017/ 2018 but no action was taken and the same was not reflected in the Budget of the current Financial Year.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament interfaced with JLOS institutions, the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on the same issue of salary enhancement and recommended that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development increases the salary of State Attorneys in the Financial year 2017/ 2018.
It should be noted that despite all the efforts from H.E the President, the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, and other institutions; the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Public Service have blatantly refused to comply.