Teachers' SACCO Money Fate Unknown

2068 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
According to the agreement, the money would be released in five installments for five years. Each year, teachers were expected to receive five billion shillings.

The fate of the five billion shillings President Yoweri Museveni pledged to the teachers' SAACO remains unknown, after the expiry of the previous financial year. At the height of the teachers’ industrial action last year, the president pledged them 25 billion shillings to support the teachers SACCO.
 
According to the agreement, the money would be released in five instalments for five years. Each year, teachers were expected to receive five billion shillings.
 
Last financial year, the government released the first batch of the funds to the education ministry. Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Education and Sports acknowledged the receipt of the money. She said at the time they were soliciting for a fund manager to manage the funds on behalf of the teachers.
 
Alupo said they took the decision after consulting the Solicitor General who advised that government funds cannot be put into private hands where the institution will not be held accountable. Two banks were reportedly approached. Post Bank and Pride Microfinance Limited were the two banks approached, according to Uganda National Teachers Union.
 
However, teachers through their umbrella union-Uganda National Teachers’ Union rejected the arrangement. They said the teachers negotiated for the money directly with the president and the funds must be passed directly to the teachers. They also argued that the teachers have apex SACCO that must manage the funds.
 
James Tweheyo, the UNATU Secretary General said at the time that according to the arrangement between the ministry and the banks, 500 million shillings would be deducted as management fee leaving the teachers with 4.5 billion shillings.
 
In May, the ministry of finance warned the education ministry and teachers that if the funds are not utilized by the end of the financial year, the money would be sent back to the treasury. Despite the threat, UNATU refused yield to the pressure and demanded that the funds can only be managed by the teachers themselves.
 
The last financial year ended on 30th June 2014, with no clear information as to where the money is being kept now. Tweheyo now wants an answer from education ministry. Tweheyo says the ministry must come out and explain what has happened to the money. He says the teachers have not yet changed their position and demand that the funds must be sent to their apex SACCO.
 
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Tweheyo says the teachers are now officially labeling the president a liar. He wonders why the president has failed to instruct the education ministry to release the funds directly to teachers’ SACCO. Tweheyo says the president should not blame the teachers for calling him a liar, but instead compel the education ministry give them their money. He says teachers will only change that position if the money is given directly to them;
 
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Education ministry officials have not yet responded to where the money is. However, Tweheyo claims he received information that the money was sent to a microfinance bank to manage it. Both the education minister Jessica Alupo and the Permanent Secretary Rose Nassali are reportedly out of the country.

 

Mentioned: unatu