Even before President Museveni appends his signature on the Minimum Wage Bill which Parliament passed last week, some employers are worried that setting a high wage might put them oput of business.
Juliet Musoga is a food vendor in St Balikuddembe market employs a couple of people who help her run her small business. Musoga is worried that government might set a minimum wage he can’t afford.
“My business is less than Shs 200,000 [in capital] and if government set a minimum wage which is high, I don’t think in will be in position to pay. I cannot pay someone above Shs 50,000.
The proposed minimum wage according to the bill is Shs 130,000.
Many employers said government needs to first do consultations before the bill eventually becomes law.
“We understand that even the people we employ need the money but we are also struggling,” said Aidah Nassolo, another food vendor.
Douglas Opio, the executive director of the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) said the law was long over due.
He agreed that consultations should first be done in the different sectors to assess their performance and set a different minimum wage per sector.
“Different sectors have different capabilities therefore there is need to assess all the sectors not just setting one minimum,” Opio said.
Usher Wilson Owere the chairman of National Organisation of Trade Union (NOTU) said this law is coming in good faith to help both the employee and employee.
“Workers have been working for peanuts whereas investor go with bags of dollars back home. It is time they enjoy,” Owere said.
If signed into law, employers face a three-year jail term or a penalty of up to Shs 10 million if they are found guilty of paying their workers below the minimum wage.