UPDF has halted the Proposed Salary Scale Increment that was made to take effect on 1st July 2017.
UPDF soldiers of all ranks were set to receive a massive salary raise in the 2017/18 financial year which started on July 1.
The Army had previously proposed to effect salary increments, which would see the lowest paid soldier earning Shillings 469,355 from Shillings 385,279 each month.
According to figures obtained from the ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya, the biggest beneficiaries will be officers holding the two most senior ranks in the army.
A General was set to receive an 86 per cent salary increment, raising the pay from about Shs 2 million to Shs 3.77m, while a Lieutenant General was to receive an 83 per cent pay rise, from Shs 1.87m to Shs 3.4m. A 2nd Lieutenant would earn Shillings 798,667 compared to the Shillings 543,690 they currently earn each month.
The salary of a Major General was to rise by 40 per cent from Shs 1.7 million to Shs 2.4m while a Brigadier was to receive Shs 2m, up from Shs 1.6m (a 33 per cent rise). Soldiers’ salaries are not taxed.
All the other ranks, right from a Private at the bottom of the military chain to Colonel, would also receive a considerable improvement in their earnings, which is set to further bloat the army’s already large salary and wage budget.
Brigadier Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesperson had previously said the planned increment was meant to ensure that the lowest paid soldier gets an equivalent of what a primary school teacher earns.
Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, the deputy UPDF spokesperson has confirmed the suspension of the proposed pay rise.
“Our salaries are always increased in phases but this financial year we’re not going to get that increment unfortunately. Maybe in the next financial year. We all know the economy has not been doing well this financial year and the past financial year. We have to work within the means of the economy – what the economy can support but definitely at some point the salary will be increased but it has not been possible this financial year”, said Akiiki.
According to Akiiki, in the meantime the army has decided to focus on issues of strategic importance.
“There are other more pressing issues that the leadership considers to be more strategic than increasing salaries. We cannot increase the salary and our soldiers cannot eat”, he added.
Government allocated ministry of Defense Shs 463.54 billion for the 2017/2018 financial year as compared to Shs 459.84 billion in the 2016/2017 financial year to cater for the pay rise for the soldiers.