Gov’t plans salary increment for local leaders

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The Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi has reaffirmed the government’s plan to increase salaries for lower local government leaders.

This initiative is aimed at curbing recruitment irregularities, including nepotism and bribery, which have plagued local administrations and hindered the promotion of merit-based hiring practices.

Recruitment irregularities in local governments have long been a concern in Uganda, with allegations of corruption, favoritism, and manipulation in the hiring process.

Minister Magyezi acknowledged that low salaries among local government leaders contribute to these illegal tendencies, encouraging them to engage in corrupt activities to supplement their income.

“When leaders are underpaid, they are more likely to resort to corruption to make ends meet,” Magyezi stated.

However, the Shadow Minister for Local Government, Betty Ethel Naluyima, pointed out that recruitment irregularities often originate from higher levels within the government.

She cited examples from 2022 and 2023 when secondary school teachers were recruited by the Education Service Commission without proper documentation.

“Recruitment irregularities are not just a problem at the local level; they are perpetrated by unscrupulous leaders in ministries and agencies,” Naluyima remarked.

Naluyima further argued that corruption at the district level, while problematic, has a smaller economic impact compared to the billions of shillings embezzled by officials in the central government.

“The real damage to the economy comes from high-level corruption in the central government. We need to address those loopholes before we can hope to make significant progress at the local level,” she urged.

Despite the positive intentions behind the salary increase, critics like Naluyima emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach to tackling corruption.

“Raising salaries is a step in the right direction, but it won’t be enough unless the government also addresses corruption at the highest levels,” she cautioned.

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