Cash crisis hits govt schools

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Several government-aided schools across the country have not received school capitation grants, three weeks to the end of first term.

Although government admits that some schools have not received the money, it insists it is not a countrywide problem.

According to Mr Aggrey Kibenge, the ministry of Education undersecretary, his ministry is only aware of Apac, Kotido, Mubende, Kitgum, Bugiri, Wakiso, Kira, Nansana and Makindye municipalities.

However, the teachers’ union claims the problem is bigger than what is being portrayed as they have been receiving complaints across the country.

For instance, Mr Filbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) acting general secretary, said yesterday that all the 77 schools in Yumbe District have not yet received any money. Bushenyi District has 26 schools affected; Moyo has 10, while Kiruhura has seven.

“They are just using these new municipalities as a cover-up. There are many schools affected and it has become difficult to track them down since they have given some schools, leaving out others,” Mr Baguma said.

“Local governments blame the centre and the centre blames the local governments. Head teachers are torn apart. They don’t know what to do. Some will be forced to close prematurely,” he added.

But Mr Kibenge explained that the challenge arose from Ministry of Finance changing its payment procedure in the third quarter, which some schools took some time to adapt to, hence delaying the release of capitation grants.

He said money for both primary and secondary schools will now be sent directly to schools on request of their local governments without going through the central government.

“There was a change in payment where local governments must warrant payments before [ministry of] Finance releases any money. This started in Quarter Three. Finance has to receive those requests from local government. We had an engagement with Finance last week over those affected districts. They are aware and this should be sorted any time,” Mr Kibenge said.

Government spends Shs10,000 as capitation grant per pupil per year, and Shs47,000 per student per term.

Mr Jim Mugunga, the ministry of Finance spokesperson, said they have played their part as a ministry by releasing all the needed money to the respective districts.

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