Makerere University lecturers have warned they will not begin the new academic year in August unless the institution pays their salary arrears.
Dr Muhammed Kiggundu, the academic staff association chairperson, yesterday said the 90-year-old institution has up to July 4 to pay their incentive which, the University Council, the highest decision making body, pledged last year following a month long strike.
“The staff have not been paid their incentive for two months and you know what it means. We have written to Council to instruct the university managers to pay us. We have heard rumours that there is no money. The staff did their work. We have given them up to July 4,” Dr Kiggundu said.
Last year, Makerere University Council increased staff salaries by 70 per cent from internal budget, although management insists that it is an incentive. This meant that a lecturer in College of Humanities would have their salary up from Shs2.9m to 4.9m before tax in the new schedule indicated a gross increment of Shs2m. The professor will now move from Shs3.5m to Shs5.9m while the vice chancellor will now get Shs7.1m a month from 4.2m.
However, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of finance and administration, yesterday said the incentive can only be paid once the university finances improve. “The university spends Shs3.7b on incentives to staff every month. It is not a salary. It is paid when the university has the money. We have told staff that if the university finances improve, we shall pay them,” Prof Nawangwe said in an interview.
But while the country’s oldest institution is still grappling to see that it opens the new academic year without any hiccups, the students are also up in arms saying they will not accept management’s proposal to increase tuition by 10 per cent.
They have also indicated that since they broke off for internship in May, they have not been supervised which will affect their performance at the end of the academic year. “The 10 per cent fees increment policy as proposed by the University Council is also challenged and we are also calling on other stakeholders to join us in the struggle against this draconian policy,” the Guild president Bwowe Ivan said. But Prof Nawangwe insisted that fees increment is a policy issue which affects new students and not continuing students.
“Fee increment affects people who want to come in not continuing students. It was last increased in 2009. I don’t think it still has the value as then,” Prof Nawangwe added.
This is, however, opposed by Dr Kiggundu who warns the university against looking at increasing tuition as the only source of revenue. He aises the university to tap into the academia and exploit their assets like land.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor