The finance ministry has issued a circular, titled Guidelines on Human Resource Management in the Public Service, dated June 23, 2023, requesting all accounting officers to rectify financial discrepancies in the salaries of civil servants.
Specifically, they are required to recover an amount of over shillings 2.9 billion that was erroneously overpaid to several government employees.
Furthermore, the ministry has instructed the officers to reimburse an amount of over shillings 2.6 billion, which was wrongfully deducted from some staff members.
The finance ministry’s permanent secretary, Ramathan Ggoobi, mentioned that despite having payroll controls in place, they identified several instances of both overpayment and underpayment during the financial year 2022/23.
However, the circular did not specify the exact recovery amount.
The Auditor General’s audit report for the year ended June 2022 indicated that shillings 2.9 billion were paid out to government employees using incorrect salary scales and levels.
The Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2021, specifically Section B – a (6) & (7), dictate that salaries should be paid accurately and promptly according to the approved salary structure for the Public Service. Additionally, Section (B – c) 1 of the same Standing Orders stipulates that public officers in graded posts with incremental levels should receive annual increments up to the maximum of their salary scale.
The anomalies in salary payments were attributed to various factors, including the non-automation of incremental dates in the Integrated Personnel Payroll System by the Ministry of Public Service, lack of staff capacity in the human resource departments to monitor staff appointments, and the slow rollout of the Human Capital Management System (HCMS) across government ministries.
To address these issues, Ggoobi directed accounting officers to investigate and identify the causes of the discrepancies.
Disciplinary action is to be taken against officers found to have deliberately manipulated salary amounts.
The ministry requires a detailed audited recovery plan, not exceeding 50% of the salary after accounting for taxes (PAYE and Local Service Tax), to be prepared and submitted for approval.
Meanwhile, for those who were underpaid, accounting officers must conduct an audit using the figures from the previous financial year and submit them to the Ministry of Finance for verification and scheduling using the residual salary arrears form.