Soldiers to get huge pay rise

UPDF soldiers inside the forest of Ituri Province, eastern DR Congo on January 17, 2024. PHOTO | ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • This pay rise comes a few years after the army’s top brass increased the salaries of high-ranking officials in 2022.

Low-ranking serving officers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) will receive a massive pay rise, should Parliament adopt and pass the proposal by its Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs.

In its report on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates for the Defence and Veteran Affairs Ministry for the FY2024/2025, the Committee led by its Chairperson, Mr Wilson Kajwengye, recommended pay for soldiers between the rank of Private and Captain as proposed by the Defence ministry.

A Private, who has been earning Shs485,000, will see their salary almost doubled to Shs828,426 in the new proposed pay rise. The Lance Corporal, the second lowest ranking soldier, who has been earning about Shs495,000, will have the pay enhanced to Shs1.03m, while a Corporal will earn Shs1.1m, up from the current Shs504,000.

The Committee further recommended an increment to the pay of the Sergeant, whose salary will almost triple to Shs1.3m from the current Shs514,000, while that of the Staff Sergeant has been more than tripled to Shs1.59m, from the current Shs523,800.

“The enhancement of salaries of lower-ranking officers will help reduce the pay gap in military service and also improve the pension incentive paid for lower-ranking officers to bring them slightly closer to the broader public service salary standards,” the 46-page report signed by all the 30 Committee members reads in part.

Mr Kajwengye asked the House Budget Committee to approve an additional Shs952.2b required to actualise this increment and other UPDF recruitments in the next financial year budget.

In the proposed increments, the Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO-II) will see their pay rise from Shs574,300 to Shs1.85m, their Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO-I)’s increase to Shs591,700 to Shs2.09m, the Second Lieutenant will have theirs increased to Shs2.38m from Shs613,700, the Lieutenant from Shs772,600 to Shs2.48m while the Captain will earn Shs2.73m up from the current Shs845,600.

Committee recommendations 
“The Committee, therefore, recommends that salary enhancement for the lower cadre staff of the UPDF and recruitment be prioritised and that Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) provide an additional wage bill of Shs952.23 billion in FY 2024/25,” the report reads.

The Defence ministry has projected to spend about Shs3.9t in the 2024/2025 financial year, where Shs2.2t is for recurrent expenditures and the remaining Shs1.6 for development, according to the ministerial policy statement.

This pay rise comes a few years after the army’s top brass increased the salaries of high-ranking officials in 2022.

The Defence Public Information Officer, Brig Felix Kulaigye, in the July 12, 2022 statement, said the High Command meeting that had sat on July 6 the same year, unanimously agreed to increase the salaries of High ranking officers general Officers by 100 percent, followed by Senior Officers by 50 percent, and Captain to Private by 33 percent. 

But as the first two groups had their salaries immediately enhanced in the 2023/2024 financial year, due to their limited numbers, the latter had to wait until more resources were made available.

Brig Kulaigye said the meeting agreed to explain to the lower cadres (Capt-Pte) that their salaries, “would be enhanced next FY 2023/24, alongside other civil servants as it was the case in FY 2018/19.”

President Museveni, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was the first to give hopes to lower cadres while officiating at the pass-out of over 100 platoon commanders and more than 450 Armour crew servicemen at Armoured Warfare Training School Karama in Mubende District on July 15, 2022.