Government increases salaries of doctors and judicial officers

By Clare Muhindo

Thursday July 4, 2019

Government has released a new salary structure, providing for an increment for medical and judicial officers for the financial year that begun on Monday.

The July 1st circular signed by Ministry of Public Service, Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate, shows that the country’s wage bill for the new financial year stands at Shs4.69 trillion, up from Shs4.2 trillion in 2018/2019.

The wage bill therefore accounts for 25.5 per cent of the local revenue projections for the financial year 2019/20, estimated at Shs18.3 trillion.

According to Bitarakwate’s circular, the new wage allocation is based on among other factors, salary enhancement for employees in the health and judicial sectors, as well as the planned recruitment of staff for upgrading health centre IIs to health centre IIIs, and operationalizing seed schools.

“Government remains committed to a phased approach to pay enhancement in accordance with the pay policy principles and targets approved by cabinet in 2017,” Bitarakwate explained.

Eight categories of employees will benefit from the salary increments. These include, District health officers and their assistants, Specialist medical officers, dental surgeons and pharmacists in salary scale U2, consultants, senior consultants and directors of hospitals.
Health professionals at the level of Assistant Commissioner, commissioners, directors and the director general of health services will also have salary increments.

On November 6, 2017, public health services across the country were brought to a standstill as doctors laid down their tools over government’s failure to meet their demands for salary and allowance increment, as well as review the supply of medicines and other equipment in health centres.

President Yoweri Museveni then deployed doctors from the military to public hospitals to cover services and issued a directive warning doctors to return to work or face serious consequences.

During further negotiations with the professionals, government made a commitment to enhance their salaries in a phased manner.

Around the same time, judicial officers also went on strike, leaving several litigants across the country stranded.

The circular shows that salaries of legal professionals in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, justices, judges and judicial officers have also been increased.
Although the funds provided for salary enhancement include those for the education sector, the monies have not been distributed in the view of the ongoing discussions between the Public service labour unions and government.

“The ongoing discussions between the public service labour unions and government are in accordance with the law and cover all employee groups whose salaries have not been enhanced,” Bitarakwate said.

At the beginning of the second term in May this year, Teachers under their umbrella association UNATU declared a strike. They however called off their strike ten days later after a meeting with president Museveni.