The Chairperson Hon. Mariam Wangadya on Monday, January 8, 2024, presented the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Budget Framework paper for the Financial Year 2024/2025 to Parliament.
In Company of Commissioners; Hon. Col. Steven Basaliza, Hon. Shifra Lukwago and Hon. Simeo Nsubuga; directors and other technical staff, the Chairperson presented this paper which contains projected budgetary estimates to the legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee today (January 8, 2024) afternoon, for consideration in the National Budget.
“Government is duty-bound to fully finance Uganda Human Rights Commission to execute its constitutional duty. However, as you are well aware, the UHRC Budget over a long period has been miserably low to meet the growing human rights demands of this country. The wage, non-wage and development budgetary provisions have never been close to half of what UHRC needs to provide meaningful human rights promotion and protection services,” she said.
Ms Wangadya decried the consistent budget cuts the Commission has been undergoing and urged the committee to this time round to rally other actors to support the Commission with an enhanced budget.
“For instance, in the FY 2021/2022 the UHRC budget planned requirement was Shs72.227bn but only Shs20.897bn (29%) was provided by the government; in FY 2022/2023, UHRC required Shs78.811bn but only 20.636bn was provided; in FY 2023/2024 government provision reduced further to Shs19.572bn (23%) against a requirement of Shs84,227bn,” she said.
The Chairperson again made a hearty appeal for enhancement of staff salaries revealing that the UHRC has been grappling with low and uncompetitive pay for its employees for the last over 10 years.
“I will always remind this Honourable Committee that currently, a Director and Manager at UHRC earns a monthly gross salary of Shs3,977,716 and Shs3,619,493 respectively. This is inconceivably incomparable to sister institutions like the Electoral Commission where a director earns Shs14,596,960, a Manager Shs12,713,575 and an officer Shs5,010,000. Every planning/budgetary I absorb the inner pain of counselling my staff who have waited patiently for the improvement of their salaries which seem not to materialize,” she said.
Members of Parliament like Ben Okiror, Usuk County noted that previously they have been asking the Commission to be visible and at least we are seeing them of late even with the enumerated financial challenges.
“We need to support them with all the resources they need so that they can be able to do their work. It is not right for government to be starving this institution of money and then expect results,” he said.
The Deputy Chairperson Hon. Yusuf Mutembuli urged fellow MPs to task the Finance Ministry when it appears before the same committee to give reasons why they have refused to consider bridging the Commission’s resource gap.
The other Members of Staff who accompanied the Chairperson were Directors; Ruth Ssekindi of Monitoring and Inspection, Byonabye Kamadi of Research, Education and Documentation, Ida Nakiganda of Complaints Investigation and Legal Services, Sarah Nakhumitsa of Regional Services, Principal Human Rights Officer Pauline Nansamba Mutumba; Central Regional Head Juliet Logose, Senior Human Rights Officer Roselyn Amayo, Ag. Public Affairs Manager Alex Bukumunhe and Assistant Planner Lovisa Nassali.