Fate of UGX 700 Million of Teachers SACCO Money Unknown

2133 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
According to Muhindo, the ministry of education and Sports has just received an additional 2.5 billion shillings from the ministry of Finance towards teachers' SACCO.

The Uganda National Teachers' Union (UNATU) Secretariat is once again up in arms over teachers' SACCO money.
It claims that at least 700 million shillings has been withheld by the Ministry of Education and Sports that received the first 5billion shillings released last year for the establishment of national teachers' savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCOs) Organizations.
Pedison Bbale, the UNATU Deputy Secretary General in charge of Administration told UNATU members in Kitgum that the Ministry of Education and Sports withheld the 700 million shillings on unclear grounds.
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Bbale says in a July 22nd letter from the ministry of Education and Sports to UNATU, the ministry said it has transferred 4.3 billion shillings to Micro Finance Support Center to be disbursed among teachers' SACCO groups.
The Ministry of Education and Sports denies withholding the funds.
Muhindo Emmanuel Patrick, the Public Relations officer of the Ministry of Education and Sports says the Ministry of Finance never remitted the missing 700 million shillings last year.
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According to Muhindo, the Ministry of Education and Sports has just received an additional 2.5 billion shillings from the Ministry of Finance towards teachers' SACCO.
Sending the money to Micro Finance Support Center is at the heart of bickering between UNATU and the Ministry of Education.
UNATU claims it has an independent SACCO union to manage the fund as the ministry of education insists the funds must go through Micro Finance Support Center.
Bbale says they are skeptical because of Micro Finance Support Center's ability to manage the funds.
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James Tweheyo, the UNATU General Secretary in a strongly worded statement to members accused the Ministry of Education and Sports of pursuing its own interests with the teachers' SACCO money.
Tweheyo warned that the money will not yet be available to teachers' SACCOs until the processes of disbursement are streamlined.
The Ministry of Education and Sports has on several occasions maintained its stance to protect teachers from losing the entire funds through dubious SACCO activities.
Uganda Radio Network could not independently verify whether the Ministry of Finance actually released only 4.3 billion shillings last year.
President Yoweri Museveni in 2012 pledged to enhance teachers' welfare by contributing 25 billion shillings for teachers owned SACCO to prevent them losing their salaries in multiple borrowings from financial institutions charging high interests.
He made the pledge during negotiations for better teachers' welfare with UNATU in 2011after series of industrial actions. The president said the money would be released in installment of 5billion shillings over a period of five years.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.