Members of Parliament who sit on the Defence Committee are concerned with the unfairness in salary enhancements of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) which have seen lower-ranking officers earn less from the enhancements.
These argue that the lower-ranking officers are the ones doing the actual day-to-day security work of the Forces, in contrast with the High Ranking Generals who are “doing nothing”.
This comes as the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs seeks Shs.2.01 trillion to implement full salary enhancement of UPDF personnel.
Currently, the budget allocation of UPDF stands at Shs417.6b and Shs517b is required in the next financial year.
However, for the force to implement the UPDF enhanced salary structure approved by the ministry of public service in 2017, Shs.2.01 trillion is required.
In the enhanced structure, the CDF’s salary is to rise from Shs2m to 20m, Generals from Shs2m to 18.8m, Lt Gen from Shs1.87m to 17.7m, Maj. Gen Shs1.69 to 15.8m and Brig. Gen from Shs1.5m to 13.9m.
The increment is to spell down to the lowest rank of Local Defence Personnel which is to rise from Shs183,400 to shs.850, 000 and Privates from Shs.385,279 to Shs 1.29m.
The Minister of Defence, Vincent Ssempija said the increments are long overdue.
However, Members of the Parliamentary Committee of Defense and Internal Affairs are concerned that some high-ranking officers receive up to over 100% increment while lower-ranking officers are still doing poorly.
Jonathan Odur (Erute North County) argued that such increments would generate a huge financial gap between the generals and the privates and hence pose a huge threat.
“What is worrying for me are the lower-ranking officers. They are not spared the inflation, let the discussion begin on their enhancement,” Abdullah Kiwanuka, MP Mukono North said.
MPs called for fairness in the distribution of salary enhancements especially the lower ranking and vowed to summon the permanent secretary of the ministry of public service to explain the criteria that were used and also ensure that the LDUs and Privates are equally allotted a reasonable pay rise.
Rosemary Nyakikongoro, the chairperson of the committee questioned why UPDF keeps un-deployed officers in its books and continues to earn taxpayers’ money for doing nothing.
MPs mentioned high-ranking officers like Gen Kayihura among others who have spent years undeployed yet continue earning salaries.
“How can we continue paying officers for sitting and doing nothing?” Kanyum County MP Simon Peter Opolot wondered.
Minister Ssempijja in defence said that the system has been put together to eliminate inconsistencies
“The ministry of defence is also planning for a pay rise for all retired officers who retired before approval of salary enhancements. We shall come back to the committee to request for more for the retired officers who should have had increments,” he said.
In the same meeting with the committee of defence, the defence minister Vincent Sempijja disclosed that UPDF has so far Killed 426 ADF rebels in the Joint Operation Shujaa in 2022 alone. 81 ADF rebels have been captured, 115 Abductees rescued and 118 firearms recovered.
UPDF now seeks for Shs21.4b to sustain operation Shujja in the 2023/2024 financial year with Shs6.9b for food, 5.4b for fuel, 2.1b for lubricants, 625.4m for maintenance, 4.2b for medical and 2.03b for travels inland