The government has increased salaries of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) by 4 per cent. Under the new salary structure announced by the Ministry of Defence, the least paid soldier will earn Shs310,000, up from Shs290,000, while the top most paid officer will get Shs1,600,000, an increment from Shs1,540,000.
Chief of Defence Forces Katumba Wamala announced the salary increment to all UPDF soldiers and officers through a radio message to all army units countrywide at the end of last month. Maj Robert Ngabirano, the deputy UPDF and Defence spokesman, said the salary increment was worked out within the limits of the Ministry’s budget.
Asked whether the increment would make significant change in income since the inflation rate stands at 6 per cent, Maj Ngabirano said: “We appreciate that the government has increased our salary by 4 per cent. We would not mind a higher increment if only Parliament increased our budgetary allocation. Our salaries should not be tagged to the inflation rate, we would not mind if they were doubled or multiplied.”
A police constable remains the least paid government worker at Shs260,000 per month followed by a primary school teacher at Shs270, 000. Nurses earn Shs400,000 monthly.
There has been considerable agitation among government workers demanding a pay raise. Primary and secondary school teachers have threatened to go on strike in September if they are not given a 20 per cent raise while Makerere University lecturers are currently on strike after government refused to give them an 100 per cent increment. “UPDF salaries are currently undergoing a process to level them with those of the Public Service,” Maj Ngabirano added.
A General will earn Shs1.6 million. There are nine Generals in the UPDF, namelu; Katumba Wamala, Salim Saleh, Aronda Nyakairima, Jeje Odong, Moses Ali, Kale Kayihura, David Sejusa, Elly Tumwine, and Yoweri Museveni. However some of them are holding public service positions and so do not draw salary from the army.
This year, there have been several stories of desertions in the army due to poor pay. The UPDF announced a general hunt for the deserters and arrested many, but still the army had to address the problem of pay to stem further escalation of desertions. Probably the new salary adjustment will motivate the soldiers to remain committed to military service.
Most of the deserters have been those who return from the African Union Mission in Somalia where they earn more than five times their government salary here. “When they return home with Shs20 million each soldier makes in Somalia, they start private businesses. It would be hard for them to run private businesses when they are still serving. It’s too demanding to be an active soldier,” said a soldier who returned from Mogadishu recently.
New Salary Structure (Shs)
Lance Corporal 311,000
Staff Sergeant 341,000
Warrant Officer I 400,000
Warrant Officer II 450,000
Second Lieutenant 520,000
Lt. Col 950,000
Major General 1,400.00
Lieutenant General 1,500.000