The Uganda National Teachers Union has formally written to President Museveni withdrawing their interest in the 25 billion Shillings the president has been channeling to the teachers Savings and Credit Co-operative -SACCO.
James Tweheyo, the Secretary General of Uganda National Teachers’ Union-UNATU says they wrote to the President telling him not to give any more money in the name of teachers SACCO funds on Wednesday, May 6th.
He says all the members and teachers’ SACCOs countrywide have been informed that the Union has sought both internal and external alternative funding to support the teachers’ SACCOs.
Tweheyo says teacher SACCOs interested in loans should submit applications to the apex union of the Teachers’ SACCOs for processing.
The decision to reject the money from the President follows a disagreement between the teachers union and the ministry of education on ways through which, the government should channel the money to their account.
While the teachers union wants the money sent directly to the teachers SACCO’s account, the ministry procured a fund manager, the Microfinance Support Centre, which the teachers rejected.
Now, the union has officially written to the president, telling him that teachers no longer want the funds and should therefore not be associated with the funds anymore.
Education minister Jessica Alupo said they took the decision after consulting the Solicitor General who advised that government funds cannot be put into private hands where, the institution cannot be held accountable.
In January this year, the teachers issued a 90 day ultimatum to the ministry, demanding that their money be channeled through the Apex SACCO, the UNATU SACCO.
However, the ministry remained unmoved. On 22nd last month, the branch executives of UNATU formally sat and withdrew their request for the funds.
However, while Alupo has accepted the decision and has informed the President about it, Rose Nassali Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary of the Education ministry has rubbished the claim by UNATU.
Nassali says UNATU has no rights and powers to stop teachers from applying for loans provided by the government.
She has appealed to teachers to form new SACCOs and apply for the funds.
Recently, the Education ministry announced that Mukono-Kayunga teachers’ SACCO and Luwero teachers SACCO had received the money.
However, a few days later, during UNATU Apex teachers’ SACCO meeting, the duo rejected the claim and said the funds they had applied for were for commercial and agricultural loans.
They warned the Centre and Education ministry never to change the status of their loans to teachers’ SACCO money.
At the height of the teachers’ industrial action in 2013, the president pledged 25 billion Shillings to support the teachers SACCO.
According to the agreement between the president and the teachers, the money would be released in five installments for five years.
Each year, teachers were expected to receive five billion Shillings.
The money would be sent directly to teachers SACCO’s, not through a fund manager, according to the agreement.
Since then, the government has released about 10 billion Shillings to the SACCO funds, through the education ministry.