By Spy Uganda
The Public Accounts Committee (Local Government) has quizzed Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipal Council officials over alleged mismanagement of the payroll which affected the timely payment of new employees’ salaries.
This arises from the Auditor General’s report for Financial Year 2021/2022 which revealed that Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipal Council took between two to 16 months without enrolling 17 newly recruited staff to the payroll.
This according to the Auditor General resulted in accumulated arrears of Shs78.3 million, which affected staff’s livelihood.
The committee while meeting the officials from Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipal Council on Monday, 13 March 2023 asked the team to account for the delays.
“Why did you take 16 months without entering the new staff on the payroll? If you were a staff who failed to access salary for 16 months, how would you feel?” the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi asked.
Napore West Member of Parliament, Hon. Philips Lokwang Ilukol said it was unacceptable for the municipal council to subject new staff to untold suffering.
“16 months is too much a time for the human resource to have not accessed staff to the payroll. Have all the new staff since accessed the payroll and have they received their arrear?” Lokwang said.
According to the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2021, the accounting officer is required to ensure that staff accesses the payroll within one month after recruitment.
Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipal Council Town Clerk, Sereverio Mukobi Byarufu said the delay was a result of migration from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) to the Human Capital Management System (HCM), a new system that was adopted in January 2022 to automate all human resource functions.
“The new system had challenges; the HCM would not automatically capture supplier numbers from IFMS,” Mukobi said.
Mapenduzi was not convinced by the town clerk’s response saying that the Ministry of Public Service had assured them that, ‘HCM is one of their perfect systems’.
Whereas Mukobi admitted that there were some delays for new staff to access the payroll, he said the 16 months period stressed by the Auditor General is ‘erroneous’.
“I have brought with me the posting instruction of all staff and their letters of assumption of duty. They accessed the payroll in the month of June 2022 [after their recruitment in January 2022]. So where the Auditor General indicated 16 months, he had wrongly captured the date of assumption of duty,” he said.
Mukobi added that the residual arrears currently stand at Shs37 million and the list has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development after their supplier numbers were finally captured in the new system.