Healthworkers in Uganda have had their pleas answered after a long period of pulling ropes with the government to increase their lunch allowances.
This is after minister of finance Matia Kasaijja has approved the proposal to increase lunch allowances for health workers in the country.
It should be recalled that in February,2021, Midwives and Nurses under their umbrella Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) threatened to lay down instruments of service if government did not increase their lunch allowances.
They demanded that government increase on their lunch allowances from UShs 3,000 for midwives and UShs 2,000 enrolled nurses to UShs 15,000 and 10,000 respectively.
Prior to their sit down strike, in January, the ministry of public service had written to the ministry of finance seeking for an adjustment in lunch allowances for healthworkers however, the proposal fell on a barren ground as cabinet did not work on its budget estimation citing out limited resources and a need to first work on other pressing issues.
Parrots UG can now confirm that this will soon come to history after our society reporters have seen a letter dated 15 July, purpoted to the minister of finance Matia Kasaijja, directing the minister for public service Muruli Mukasa to review the proposal and start paying healthworkers their allowances.
” Given the hardships these healthworkers are currently going through to contain COVID-19 pandemic, this issue should be reviewed and lunch allowances paid.” Read excerpts of the letter purported to minister Kasaijja.
Kasaijja who said has no objection to the revised lunch allowances proposal said the payments should start effective July,2021.
He however was quick to note that the allowances should be paid through the payroll. This mean that the allowances are subjected to being taxed.
“By copy of this letter, your permanent Secretary should adjust the payrolls with the new rates for healthworkers accordingly,” he said.
In 2018, President Museveni while officiating at the International Day for Nurses in Kitgum district pledged to increase lunch allowances for medical workers from sh2,000 to sh15,000.
The President has since directed the finance ministry to provide Shs70b in fulfilment of his pledge.
Parrots UG learned that the money was released and payment of the lunch allowance of Shs70.5b to midwives and nurses begins in the financial year 2021/2022.
When contacted by our report for a comment, Cherop Justus Kiplagat the President UNMU confirmed the release of the allowance money but said the money is still on ministry of public service account.
“The money was released and it is on ministry Public Service account. It’s not yet on our accounts and because of the delays, we are getting the money in August next month with July arrears;” Cherop said.