Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review civil servants’ pay

Kampala 18/07/2011,OVER the last two months there has been agitation by the civil servants for salary increase. Teachers, doctors and government accountants are all up in arms over the failure by the Government to give a realistic pay.

Concerns about the low salaries follow the runaway inflation rate which has wiped out the pay of low income earners.

Food and fuel prices have registered the highest prices ever. The current salaries cannot match the high commodity prices.

Apart from announcing a forensic, audit of the government salaries and slashing some allowances, this year’s budget did not offer civil servants any reprieve. While the budget priority areas are employment creation, especially for the youth and women human resource development, the much anticipated improved service delivery cannot be realized without addressing the issue of pay distortions.

Low pay stimulates corruption in public service leading to under-the-table deals for survival. But Government should not to fall in the trap of giving ad hoc pay adjustments to some categories of public servants. Instead, it should go for a comprehensive pay reform package, equitable to all civil servants. Research has found out that enhanced pay is crucial to sustaining motivation, performance and integrity of public servants.

There is evidence from all around the world that government workers either cut back their productivity or hours of work when salaries are low. Therefore, there is need for a review of the salaries of public servants to match the current cost of living.

The gap between the highest and lowest paid skilled civil servants should also be narrowed to enhance efficiency. The review of salaries of public servants under a new pay reform policy promised by President Yoweri Museveni in his State-of-Nation address should urgently be implemented

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