MPs raised concern that an additional sh1.9 trillion classified money has been allocated to the defence sector
The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) will recruit 3000 soldiers in the 2019/20 financial year, according to the defence minister Adolf Mwesige.
The defence ministry requires an extra sh80.4b to cater for the salaries of 3000 soldiers who will be recruited as well the 10,000 LDUs who were recruited recently.
While appearing before Parliament’s defence and internal affairs committee, the minister said they ensure each district meets its quota to ensure regional balance in the recruitment.
Meanwhile, the minister expressed concern that the sh196b required to increase salaries for soldiers has not been provided for in the draft budget.
The MPs raised concern that an additional sh1.9trillion classified money has been allocated to the defence sector. This has upped the total budget for defence from the sh1.5trillion it had been allocated in the budget framework paper to sh3.4trillion.
Butambala MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi challenged the decision as illegal, arguing that it goes against the Public Finance Management Act which requires that the budget in the ministerial policy statement should be aligned to the budget framework paper.
“The budget for defence that Parliament approved in the budget framework paper is completely different from this. An extra allocation of sh1.9trillion is too much. This is an illegality. It is unacceptable,” Kivumbi argued.
Mwesige, however, said there was no need to worry since the proposed budget has to be subjected to the final approval of Parliament.
On the arrears for the pension and gratuity of retired soldiers which have reached sh508b, the minister for veteran affairs, Bright Rwamirama, said they are considering the option of getting a loan to be able to clear the backlog once and for all.