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It would appear, just like in Kenya, the public service employment in Uganda is bogged by absentee workers or workers who don’t complete their full day at work, yet get paid the full-month salary. Well, the government want to do something about it.

On Tuesday this week, a senior government official revealed that the government was currently working to install biometric scanner across its ministries to clock in the hours worked by each employee. As it works out, public service in Uganda will no longer be assured of a full monthly salary, whether or not they show up to work. Instead, they will be paid per day worked, in accordance with the data captured by the biometric scanners.

ugandaProf Ezra Suruma, the head of Delivery Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), said the government will first install the biometric scanners at public health and education institution to clock-in and clock-out health workers and teachers at their respective workstations.

Last week, we were in Jinja for a meeting with district local governments, and we were told that some districts no longer pay civil servants who absent themselves from work. We want other districts to follow suit because this is kisanja, hakuna mchezo [no playing games],” said Prof Suruma.

He made these comments while receiving an assortment of the biometric scanners donated by the British government through the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

This is a grant worth half a million British pounds for a partnership we have been implementing with government for essential service delivery since 2015 where we have registered tremendous results,” said Adrian Green, the head of Growth and Economic Management at DFID.

The equipment donated by the DFID also includes laptops, desktop computers, printers, and other accessories. All these equipment will be deployed to the various government ministries for gathering, processing, and analyzing biometric information.

The kits will be installed across public service offices across the 22 districts in eastern Uganda in a pilot program. Many districts in eastern Uganda such as Kaliro, Kayunga, Buvuma, Bulambuli, Bugiri, and Bududa have begun implementing the biometric scanners roll out. The supervisors will be required to file a daily report on the staff attendance to the OPM.

Previously, the supervisors were registering the staff attendance manually, and bureaucrats argue that the old system was not only ineffective but was susceptible to errors and deliberate tweaking.

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