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Shs 70bn lunch allowance: 1,039 ghost workers unearthed on nurses’ payroll

Nurses in Uganda on duty (File Photo)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: At least 1,039 ghost names have been discovered on the nurses’ payroll. The names were unearthed during last week’s payment of lunch allowances for nurses. 

Some 147 ghost health workers received the money under the docket of nurses working under Uganda Police, 40 from Jinja district, 40 from Ntungamo district, and other districts including Kanungu, Kamwenge, Adjumani, Bunyangabu and Kasese.

With the revised allowances, qualified nurses who had been getting Shs 3,000 per day for lunch are now be receiving Shs 15,000 whereas nursing assistants who were being paid Shs 2,000 per day have been upgraded to Shs 10,000. At least Shs 70 billion has been budgeted for the allowances annually.

Owing to these irregularities, Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwire, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Public Service has given the accounting officers of the affected districts to tender in an explanation not later than August 15.

“You are requested to explain in writing by 15th of August, 2021 the circumstances under which the attached employees were enrolled onto the lunch allowance. The total amount of the lunch allowance earned over the years should also be attached,” Bitarakwate said.

Bitarakwate also notes that more than 1,000 ghost nurses had been receiving the money yet they are not health workers and don’t work in health facilities.

But Jinja district chief administrative officer (CAO) William Kanyesigye said while Jinja has been marked as one of the districts with high ghost beneficiaries, it was done in error and that they have scheduled a meeting for today Monday to have this corrected.

Kanyesigye said there are not 40 ghost health workers as alleged, but only one irregular recipient who has since been discovered to be a teacher in the district.

In Ntungamo district, the CAO Nasser Mukiibi says the 20 identified ghosts are not health workers but are support staff in the health department who work as typists and cleaners. Uganda has a total of 70,167 nurses and midwives registered by the government’s Nurses and Midwifery Council.

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