The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has urged all former employees of the defunct East African Community (EAC) and East African Airways to report to the EAC Affairs office with documents of verification and get paid.
Kadaga, while addressing the media on Friday, March 10, 2023, on the issue of payment of outstanding gratuity and pension arrears to former employees of the defunct EAC, said the government is stuck with billions of shillings meant for the payment of pensioners and former workers of the defunct East African Community (EAC).
She said that the ministry will be forced to return 7.2 billion shillings to the consolidated fund.
According to her, the money is meant to pay former workers or the surviving relatives of those who worked at East African Airways.
“There were 649 former employees of the defunct East African Airways.” “482 claimants were fully paid,” she said.
Adding that a total of 166 claimants with a 40% outstanding balance are not yet paid
“Their total balance due for payment is $8 billion, which we have,” she added.
However, physical verification of these claimants has failed because neither the former workers themselves nor the administrators of the estates of those who passed on are traceable to provide payment details.
She noted that her ministry is doing everything possible to ensure that all former employees of the community with authentic outstanding gratuity and pension arrears are verified and get paid.
“The government has provided funds to pay.” “What sometimes affects us is the availability of complete records on file to enable thorough verification and auditing of claims made, viz., what the Ministry of Public Service paid, to avoid overpayments,” she added.
“So, claimants or administrators of the estates of the deceased claimants are called upon to always turn up at our verification centers whenever called upon to do so. “We cannot pay people that we have failed to trace,” she added.
EAC employees who had served for at least 10 years were paid their gratuity and put on the pension payroll by the Ministry of Public Service. Those who had served for less than 10 years were paid a one-time shirt service gratuity, and others were given a refund of their accumulated benefits under the provident fund.
After decentralization of pensions in 2015, the Ministry continued paying monthly pensions and the claimants as they appeared. The pensioners would be verified as they made claims and thereafter get paid.
Currently, the Ministry has 397 pensioners on its payroll.