Private school owners seek Shs2.5 trillion govt bailout

BY: Eyalama In News On
- Updated

Private school owners across the country have asked President Museveni to come clear on their Shs2.5 trillion bailout request.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, the chairperson of the National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA), Mr Hasadu Kirabira, said the President early this year promised to respond to their request for a Shs2.5 trillion stimulus package.

“We met the President on January 13 and requested him to bail out struggling private schools that were on the verge of being auctioned due to accumulated loans and he promised to look into it,” Mr Kirabira said.
Mr Museveni had also in March 2020 pledged a Shs20b relief package for private teachers who had gone months without pay.

However, the teachers are yet to receive the money.
According to Mr Kirabira, private schools admit 100 per cent of all nursery students, 66 per cent secondary and 40 per cent of primary school pupils.
Therefore, he said it is necessary that government fulfils its pledge of Shs20 billion to private teachers and bail them out the schools with a stimulus package.
The proprietors of private schools also said they were dismayed by remarks of government officials that they sell their institutions and pay loans.

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Finance minister Matia Kasaija, while appearing before the Parliament’s Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry last week, asked private schools to sell their properties to pay loans, saying government does not have money to bail them out. “If you do not have another property to sell and save your school, go to the bank and negotiate,” Mr Kasaija said.

Private schools owners yesterday urged Mr Kasaija to stop from underestimating the role played by private schools in Uganda’s education sector.
According to Mr Kirabira, private schools enrol more than 6 million learners across the country and employ more than 800,000 teaching and non-teaching staff.
He added that private schools also contribute 4 per cent of the national GDP and contribute Shs200b in taxes every financial year.

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“We are perturbed with Kasaija’ s communication underestimating our role as private schools. Let him inform the country how government is going to accommodate the students we enrol if all private schools sell their properties as he put it forward,” Mr Kirabira said.
Mr Alex John Sseruwu, the deputy secretary general for NPEIA in-charge of Kampala region, also asked government to waive taxes on private schools.

According to Mr Sseruwu, government continues to impose ground rent, income tax, and pay as you earn on private schools even during closure.
“We ask the government to give us tax holidays like it has been giving to foreign investors or suspend these taxes that are choking us,” he added.

Appeal on school reopening plans

Private school owners also tasked the government to come out and tell the country when schools will be reopened for all learners. The vice chairperson of NPEIA for Kampala, Ms Rosebel Twinomujuni, cast doubt on the practicability of government tying the reopening of schools on vaccination of learners and teachers when there is scarcity of jabs across the world.

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