The Uganda People’s Defence Forces has made an appeal to Members of Parliament to urge the Ministry of Finance to avail Shs 80.4bn required for paying salaries for the Local Defence Unit (LDUs) as well as enhancing salaries for other officials.
The call was made Thursday by UPDF officials led by the Minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige who were appearing before Parliament committee on defence and internal affairs to present the ministerial policy statement of the sector of over Shs 3 trillion.
Minister Mwesige told legislators that despite making a requisition to the Ministry of Finance for the desired funds, the salaries for LDUs are still under unfunded priorities.
“We had planned to secure Shs 84bn to support the salaries of soldiers and LDUs but this money is highlighted as an unfunded priority”.
The need for this fund arose due to unforeseen security situations which we witnessed in the areas of Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala and LDUs had to be recruited to beef up other security agencies but the wage requirement for these LDUs is not forth coming,” Mwesige said.
The army also seeks Shs 33.2 bn to enhance salaries of UPDF scientists, Shs 196 bn to enhance salaries of UPDF officers from the rank of Captain to General and Shs 12 bn for mobilization and training of the Reserve Force.
Commenting on the matter, legislators wondered how government expects to employ LDUs without allocating them any pay.
They noted that LDUs have already began working in their areas of deployment adding that not paying them risks tempting to them which may result into criminality among them.
However, Mwesige told legislators that it is now in their hands to as well lobby the Ministry of Finance for the desired funding.
“This isn’t our fault, we have highlighted these issues, you have an opportunity to sit with Finance to explain why this money hasn’t been provided,” Mwesige said.