There is no money to pay Local Defence Units (LDUs) forces that were recently deployed in Kampala and surrounding areas, the Treasury has told Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
The Treasury rejected UPDF’s Shs80.4bn request to cater for the wages of LDUs and soldiers in 2019/20 budget.
The revelation came to light today when the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs appeared before the Parliamentary Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs to present their 2019/2020 Ministerial policy statement where they revealed that no money was availed to the item.
Minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige told the Committee that salaries for soldiers and LDUs adding up to Shs80.4bn remained as unfunded priorities.
“In the course of 2018/2019, there arose unforeseen security situations that required recruitment of LDUs to fill the security gaps. Their wage requirement has not been catered for in the budget for 2019/2020,” he said.
It should be recalled that the same matter came up in January 2019 when Parliament was considering the Budget Framework paper and the Ministry revealed that the Army is set to grapple with the shortage of funds for LDUs and of this, Shs9.25bn is meant to cater for their salaries while Shs12.6bn is meant to be used for Kampala deployment of LDUs and their training.
Shs14bn is needed to cater for their Uniforms.
Additionally, the LDUs also need Shs49.3Bn required for their food during their training and later deployment, but this has not been provided for by the Treasury.
President Yoweri Museveni announced plans to increase numbers of the reserve forces following the ruthless assassinations of top officials in Government.
After his June 2018 pronouncement, Museveni’s plan was executed in September 2018 when UPDF Spokesperson, Richard Karemiire announced plans to recruit 24,000 LDUs and the current lot of 4000 LDUs is the first to be trained and each of them set to receive Shs200,000 as monthly salary.
Butambala County’s Muwanga Kivumbi warned that failure to pay the LDUs is likely to pose a security threat after reports they have gone three months without pay.
However, Edith Buturo, the Under Secretary Ministry of Defence denied reports of LDUs working without pay, arguing that the Army even relaxed their rules to pay the LDUs who were on training after receiving an executive order from the President.
“The LDUs who have just been passed out, their money has been approved to the Ministry of Defence to cover, we had actually planned to pay them three months and the directive from the Commander in Chief is to pay for the six months and we are going to pay in full,” she said.
Fred Mwesigye, the Nyabushozi County MP tasked the Ministry to explain how the newly recruited staff are working without pay.
“I have seen them already been deployed, how are they being paid. We shouldn’t leave it just like that; we should find money and ensure they are paid,” he said.
The Minister responded saying; “This isn’t the fault of the Ministry, we have highlighted these issues, you have an opportunity to sit with Finance to explain why this money hasn’t been provided.”