By Joyce Namutebi and Mary Karugaba
PARLIAMENT has directed the defence ministry to pay all ex-servicemen their pension and gratuity within six months.
The House also directed the ministry to give a report on the progress of the payments after three months.
The MPs were concerned that although the money for the payment of ex-servicemen was appropriated long ago, many of them had not been paid.
â€œWe appropriated the money sometime back. What is the problem?â€ Abdu Katuntu (FDC) asked.
Parliament was reacting to the report of the committee on defence and internal affairs.
The committee reported that in June 2010, the defence ministry spearheaded an inter-ministerial meeting and launched a nationwide registration of ex-servicemen.
The exercise covered former members of the Uganda Army with their surviving family members, 1,600 ex-National Resistance Army survivors, members of the Uganda National Rescue Front II and members of the Kings African Rifles.
By July, over sh22.1b had been paid to verified beneficiaries, the report said without stating the numbers.
Col. Phinehas Katirima (Army representative) said the ministry was clearing a backlog dating from the 1960s and that the Government had done a lot.
He said it would not be possible to pay all the remaining ex-servicemen in six months.
Katirima said Parliament should recommend that the payment be done expeditiously rather than putting a timeframe.
Francis Epetait (FDC) said the ex-servicemen had suffered a lot and that the timeframe was necessary.
Defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga said they went to the field to verify and found that there were more ex-servicemen than they had estimated.
He said they were seeking approval from the Cabinet to clear them, adding that the actual payment is done by the Ministry of Public Service.