Government sponsored students at Makerere University may have to wait a bit longer for their allowances after the management deliberately used the funds to pay lecturers’ incentive arrears.
According to sources that preferred anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, management top officials had a financial management meeting on Tuesday to discuss a way forward for lecturers who had suspended evening classes over unpaid incentives.
In the meeting that was also attended by Bruce Kabaasa the chairman appointments board committee, the issue of Living Out Allowance (LOA) for government sponsored students was tackled and left hanging because the urgency of the lecturers’ issue.
After the meeting that was held in the Senior Common Room ended with several issues unresolved, the officials agreed that it resumes on Wednesday February 14, 2018.
“They discussed the issue of allowances but it was agreed upon that money for government sponsored students, since it was already on the university’s account, can be used to pay the pressing issue of incentives. Remember yesterday was the deadline that was given by Law School lecturers and those in journalism department to have their arrears paid or they stop teaching evening students,” the source said.
To prove this, a lecturer from the department of Journalism and Communication told this writer that the strike had been called off since their money was now being wired to their accounts as they had demanded.
The source also said that LOA will now be discussed later as the university waits for internally-generated funds from fees paid by students.
However, according to media reports, the University Bursar Augustine Tamale had last week confirmed the receipt of the money from government to pay LOA.
But up to date, the over 2000 students have not yet received it.
Also, about a week ago, the dean of students Cyriaco Kabagambe wrote to wardens of all halls of residence directing them to ask for students mobile money numbers, arguing that the payment system ad changed from use of bank accounts to E-Wallet.
Several students we interviewed confirmed that they registered their numbers. though after a few a day, another communication circulated indicating that the new system would take effect beginning next academic year 2018/2019.
At Makerere and other public universities, students on governments scholarship (non residents) get allowances to cater for their meals and accommodation. Those who opt to take lunch from the campus get about Shs 630,000 while those who don’t take a meal get Shs 770,000.
This allowance is normally given to students a three weeks after the first semester has started and a fortnight after the second semester.
However, this time, students say the money has taken close to a month now.
Efforts to get a comment from the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nawangwe were futile as his known number could not be reached.
As a result, thousands of the beneficiaries are stranded on the rentals and hostels outside campus since by admission, they aren’t allowed to reside in the university’s halls of residence.
Francis Ainomugisha, a second year student said that the delay has caused serious challenges for him.
“Because our parents know that we get money for accommodation and meals, they don’t give us a lot of money. Now I had told the landlord that I would pay after three weeks but today is the end of the fourth week. I don’t know where I will sleep,” Ainomugisha said.