Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) have demanded a monthly gross pay of Shs13.5 million up from the net Shs1.7 million they currently earn.
The CAOs who are the accounting officers for the Ministry of Local Government at the district level say they handle large amounts of money and are custodians of service delivery yet their pay is not commensurate with the tasks.
Their counterparts, the Town Clerks, have also asked for a pay rise from Shs1.3 million to Shs11.3 million citing similar reasons.
The Accounting Officers from nine districts including Arua, Gulu, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja, Kampala, Mbarara, Masaka and Fort Portal raised the concern on 26 April 2018 during a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee-Local Government in Parliament to consider the Auditor General’s Report and opinion for 2016/2017.
In attendance were the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi and the Auditor General, John Muwanga.
The Representative of the accounting officers, Dunstan Balaba who is the CAO of Kabarole district said that increasing their salaries will require an additional Shs 25 billion annually on the budget of the Local Government Ministry.
“It is really in all fairness that these resources are given to us to motivate us to adequately deliver services. We are not happy,” said Balaba.
He added that service delivery at local government level is constrained by underfunding.
Muhakaniza blamed the financial constraints in Local Governments to the increasing number of districts.
“We can increase the funding to Local Governments but we need to halt creation of new districts if we are to realize adequate resources,” said Muhakanizi.
He applauded the accounting officers over improved accountability in the past five years.
“For those of you who have been complaining that I have been bullying you over accountability, I am sorry I will continue because it has improved accountability,” said Muhakanizi.
The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee-Local Government, Hon Regan Okumu accused some CAOs and Town Clerks of frustrating government efforts. He gave an example of Amudat and Nakapiripirit districts, which he said are very uncooperative.
“The accounting officers of these districts are incompetent,” said Okumu.
He further noted that service delivery under Local Governments is also affected by the frequent transfers of the accounting officers. He called on the Permanent Secretary, Local Government to stop the frequent transfers.
“Most of these transfers are very inconsistent. Some accounting officers are transferred more frequently than others. This affects their stability on the job and in turn impacts negatively on service delivery,” said Okumu.