URA, UCC bosses top of earnings table
Parliament investigation unearths wide disparities
An analysis of monthly salaries of chief executive officers of 29 statutory bodies and parastatals highlights a huge disparity in their earnings. According to The Observer’s analysis, some CEOs earn three-to-four times more than their counterparts in other public enterprises, and in some cases junior staff in certain entities, surprisingly, earn more than CEOs.
These disparities are now part of a parliamentary investigation by the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase). The probe is a reaction to persistent concerns about the inequalities in earnings of government employees at all levels.
In an August 5 letter to about 120 public entities, the committee asked CEOs to submit their staff inventories as well as details of their board members, including their names, gender, academic qualifications, district of origin and particulars of their respective contracts.
This, according to the chairman, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, is to help his committee as it scrutinises the auditor general’s reports for the years 201011, 201112 and 201213.
“The committee’s role is not limited to accountability issues in the [parastatals]. The governance issues as well must be audited so that we can know whether they comply with the Constitution or not,” Ssemujju told The Observer on September 9.
But since the committee wrote last month, only 29 parastatals have handed in their inventories. Only 19 of the 29 inventories were complete. Some of the submissions surprisingly omitted the salaries of CEOs. Asked to comment on the matter, Jim Mugunga, the senior public relations officer at the ministry of Finance, said salary packages were determined by the respective boards of the public enterprises.
“It is an open, liberalised economy companies are no longer controlled in operational and human resource matters,” Mugunga said. “It is market forces, competitiveness, viability and affordability [that matters].”
Mugunga further explained that the management boards determine remuneration basing on their balance sheets, adding that state companies are in competition with private players for the best employees in the market.
A review of the staff inventories so far submitted to Parliament places Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) staff at the top of the earnings’ pack. URA’s outgoing commissioner general, Allen Catherine Kagina, gets a monthly pay cheque of Shs 40m, which is approximately four times more than what Constance Flavia Mbabazi Kateeba, the director of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), earns.
Kateeba is paid Shs 9.7m monthly, which is Shs 2.7m shy of what Kagina’s administrative assistant Carolyne Kunya Birakwate earns. With a Shs 12.4m monthly pay cheque, Birakwate also earns more than the CEOs of the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) and Mandela National Stadium Namboole who earn Shs 11.4m and Shs 8.5m respectively.
All the figures quoted in this report are gross salaries, which means they are subject to taxation, particularly the 30 per cent Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
Also, with a few exceptions, the figures don’t include allowances and other perks that employees of state companies are entitled to. For instance, it could be that a CEO who earns what appears little money compared to his counterparts elsewhere gets generous allowances that peers who otherwise earn higher salary can only envy.
With a pay cheque of Shs 36.9m, Geoffrey K Mutabazi, the executive director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), comes second to Kagina in the earnings pecking order. All six directors under Mutabazi earn better than their URA counterparts. Each UCC director earns a monthly salary of Shs 23.1m while URA commissioners earn between Shs 20m and Shs 21m.
UCC and URA commissioners earn more than the chief executive officers of the National Drug Authority (NDA), Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) and Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL). NDA’s Gordon Ssematiko earns Shs 13.2m, PPDA’s Cornelia K Sabiiti earns Shs 15m and UEGCL’s Dan Walakira Mayanja gets Shs 13.1m.
Mayanja seems to be the least-paid head of a state entity in the electricity sub-sector. His colleague at the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (UEDCL), Joseph Kateera, bags Shs 25.3m, while his personal assistant Olivia Bitarihiirwe Musinguzi is paid Shs 2.9m. The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) executive director, Godfrey R Turyahikayo, is paid Shs 24.7m while the six managers under him earn Shs 1.4m more than what Mayanja gets.
Although it submitted an inventory, the National Water and Sewerage Corporation did not attach the salary of its managing director, Dr Silver Mugisha. The corporation’s staff list has Alfred Okot Okidi and Johnson Amayo as the only deputies to Mugisha. But according to the salary payment schedule, five people are remunerated as deputy managing directors. They earn between Shs 16m and Shs 18m.
Among the staff at NDA is Dr Edson Friday Agaba who is listed as a food [safety]desk coordinator. He earns Shs 10.2m. NDA’s nine secretaries are among the best-remunerated, each earning a monthly salary of Shs 3.3m, while their counterparts at UEDCL earn between Shs 940,000 and Shs 969,000. PPDA’s secretaries earn Shs 1.8.
The drivers at NDA are paid Shs 2.8m, PPDA pays theirs Shs 904,800 and UEDCL Shs 1.7m.
“This audit will help us to know whether government has a policy on remuneration of staff in its corporations,” Ssemujju said.
Some parastatals, such as Post Bank, Uganda Telecom (UTL), Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb), National Planning Authority (NPA), Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) and Uganda Publishing and Printing Corporation (UPPC) did not attach salary structures to their inventories, The Observer has learnt.
Ssemujju said the committee would compel them to submit their staff lists and salary structures.
“It is now a requirement that they disclose details of their staff, and this is not limited to these known government corporations but others like Kampala Serena hotel, New Vision, etc., where government holds shares they are accountable to this committee,” Ssemujju said.
The committee has also written to entities such as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Electoral Commission, Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), Uganda Road Fund and Uganda Aids Commission to submit their salary details.
“The auditor general has mistakenly been including them in volume two [of his audit reports] which is for the central government, but they must be in volume four because they must be answerable to Cosase,” Ssemujju said.
“Unlike in the past, we want to come out with a comprehensive report covering personnel and other governance issues but also include the opinion of the auditor general.”
Some of the CEOs’ salaries:
Organisation Salary (Shs)
Allen Catherine Kagina URA Shs 40.9m
Godfrey K Mutabazi UCC Shs 36.9m
Dr Ben Manyindo UNBS Shs 20m
David Ssebabi Privatization Unit Shs 18.2m
Cornelia K Sabiiti PPDA Shs 15m
Jamil Ssewanyana Mpagi Namboole Stadium Shs 8.5m
Gordon Ssematiko NDA Shs 13.2m
Dan Walakira Mayanja UEGCL Shs 13.1m
Joseph Kateera UEDCL Shs 25.3m
Godfrey R Turyahikayo REA Shs 24.7m
Patricia Adongo Ojongole UDB Shs 24.2m
Felix Okoboi NHCCL Shs 20.9m
Constance F. Mbabazi Kateeba NCDC Shs 9.7m
Dr Jolly K Zaribwende DDA Shs 11.4m
Source : The Observer