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Mityana District Withholds Salaries for Latecomers, Absentees

Mityana Chief Administrative Officer James Nkata told Uganda Radio Network that the salaries were withheld as an internal tool to check on persons who wanted to be paid for no work done. Nkata says that he invoked powers vested in his office by the Public Service Standing Orders, permitting him to withhold salaries of staff that abscond from duty.
James Nkata, the Mityana Chief Administrative Officer Says Public Service Standing Orders permits him to withhold salaries of any staff that absconds from duty.

Audio 3

More than 20 civil servants in Mityana District missed their June payments over absenteeism, absconding from duty and reporting late for work. The affected persons include teachers, health workers and parish chiefs.

Mityana Chief Administrative Officer James Nkata told Uganda Radio Network that the salaries were withheld as an internal tool to check on persons who wanted to be paid for no work done. Nkata says that he invoked powers vested in his office by the Public Service Standing Orders, permitting him to withhold salaries of staff that abscond from duty.

The decision comes at the backdrop of complaints from area residents against poor service delivery, which is blamed on the laisser-faire attitude with which civil servants execute their duties. But Nkata says that such actions will no longer be tolerated because they had severely eroded public confidence in Government institutions.

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Nkata adds that the district has since introduced a robust attendance monitoring system, in which arrival times for each employee are recorded in a book that is withdrawn at 8 a.m. This implies that whoever arrives after 8 a.m. is recorded as absent on that given day.

Persons who missed their salaries have since written letters explaining the reasons for their late arrivals and absence from work. Some of them blame the late arrivals on the distances they have to trek from home to their workstations every day, the lack of transport means and the absence of staff quarters.

However, Nkata says that is a lame excuse which should not be used to cover-up the evils. He says most of the district staff failed to look for houses near their workstations since they want to live within the municipality.

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Mityana LCV Chairperson Joseph Luzige welcomes the action and says every person must work for their pay.

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Last year 67 teachers were suspended in Mityana district and others given warning letters over chronic absenteeism. According to the Ministry of Public Service, absenteeism and non-compliance with the standing orders are some of the evils that had plagued Public Service and hampered service delivery across the country.

Authorities in the ministry have also been issuing a number of circulars warning public servants who absent themselves from duty without permission.

Last year the Public service minister Muruli Mukasa noted that anyone who skips work for more than two weeks, without clearance of the immediate supervisor, risks having his or her name scrapped off the government payroll.