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Low pay fuelling corruption in govt – Kasaija

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By Frederic Musisi

Finance minister Matia Kasaija has said the “unequal pay for equal work” across agencies, ministries and departments is one of the triggers of corruption in government.

Mr Kasaija also revealed that there is a section of public officials with an appetite of stealing public funds just for self-aggrandisement.

“I condemn and abhor corruption in every sense but there is a problem in government of unequal pay for equal work. Some of these officers are highly qualified but the amount of money we pay them, honestly…; the problem we end up getting is corruption of need,” Mr Kasaija said.

He added: “I don’t want to sympathise here, but one which seems unavoidable is the standard living. How do you explain where; look at my secretary earning Shs400,000, which has to cater for daily expenses such as lunch, transport, and many more…honestly we need to look into that.”

Mr Kasaija hinted that they have raised the matter with the Ministry of Public Service to harmonise salaries across the board, including police and the army.

Solution

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“We have addressed that of scientists and doctors, but I think the sooner we address equal service across the board, the better—it is needed yesterday,” he told this newspaper yesterday on the side lines of the three-day induction for the two junior finance ministers and permanent secretary.

President Museveni in June tapped Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugolobi as Finance state minister for planning, and Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi as Finance State minister for General Duties. The Makerere University Business School economics don, Mr Ramathan Ggobi, was last month named ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, replacing Mr Keith Muhakanizi who was moved to the Office of Prime Minister.

The induction, which ended yesterday, was for the new appointees to meet the heads of departments in the ministry, and to understand operations and challenges.

President Museveni has often lamented the grand scale corruption in the ministry of Finance, from where he said, it trickles down to other government agencies.

During the State of Nation Address in June, he said: “Corruption starts at the Ministry of Finance where projects are designed with extras; adding things that are not supposed to be there; these projects then go to committees of Parliament….”

Common practice

There is no detailed study of how much the country loses in the wheeler-dealing across agencies, ministries and departments. However the annual Auditor General’s reports usually document impropriety in both the central and local governments.

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