The Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs Bright Rwamirama told parliament that the UPDF in Somalia last received their allowances in August 2017. He explained that the ministry is yet to get release to clear the soldier’s allowance serving in war torn country.
Effective January 2016, the UPDF in Somalia monthly allowances were reportedly reduced from Ugx. 3.5 million ($1,028) to Ugx. 2.8 million ($828). Of this, the Ministry of Defence deducts 680,000 ($200) from each officer to cater for administrative costs of the mission, leaving a total of Ugx. 2.1 million.
The minister explained that of the Net pay to a soldier, $ 100 is paid cash to the soldier in Somalia to enable them cater for their basic needs in the mission area while the balance is paid into their individual accounts in banks of their preference back in Uganda.
The minister revealed that the ministry of Defence continues to face budgetary challenges such as; under funding of key spending items like food, fuel, clothing and medical. He said, these are a pre-requisite since these requirements correspond with the number of troops
Hon. Rwamirama said that approved budget for Financial Year 2017/18 is Ugx. 1.398 trillion Against a requirement of Ugx. 1.843 trillion- a shortfall of Ugx. 445 Billion. During the FY 2016/7, the ministry was allowed Ugx. 1.564 trillion Against a requirement of Ugx. 2.45 trillion
Hon Kahonda told members of parliament that: ‘‘we recently went to see our soldiers in Somalia. We realized they have a serious issue of water. They share water with the civilians, how is the security of our soldiers in Somalia?
He added: Our female soldiers in Somalia have a challenge of body armors that affect their breasts. How can the government of Uganda help these female soldiers?
UPDF has been in operations in Somalia under AMISOM since 2007 to pacify the Horn-of-Africa country which is under attack by Al Shabaab militants. It has the biggest contingent of more than 6,000 soldiers.