UPDF Amisom troops in Shs382bn debt, not paid for 10 months

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UPDF Battle Group 17 in Somalia

Parliament has asked government to review the army’s involvement in Somalia following changes in the terms of agreement with the Mission funders, the African Union and European Union.

The recommendation is contained in the Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs approved by the House sitting Thursday, 25th May 2017.

Parliament is currently considering Committee Reports on Ministerial Policy Statements of different government ministries and departments.

The Committee said that the UN and AU had not been quick in honouring their promise to compensate or reimburse country owned equipment lost due to depreciation or damage.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Judith Nabakooba (NRM), who presented the report said that the Committee was informed of an unpaid debt of US$10.6m [Shs382,37,910,000] for the period March 2007 to January 2009.

“Government should re-examine the terms and conditions relating to AMISOM operations and assess its performance in terms of costs and benefits to the country,” said the Committee.

The Committee asked that government reports back to the House within three months from the date of the adoption of the Report. The Committee applauded the achievement of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) under AMISOM since its commencement in March 2007 in pacifying Somalia, particularly Mogadishu, where the terrorist Al-Shabaab had taken a stronghold.

UPDF troops on the battlefield in Somalia

MP Hon. Thomas Tayebwa (NRM, Ruhinda North) said Ugandan troops had not received their allowances for about 10 months.

He suggested that government pays the troops’ allowances and waits reimbursement from the EU.

Members were also concerned about the reduction in allowances due to troops from US$1028 to US$828 effective January 2016, which is followed by the Ministry’s deduction of a further $100 for preparatory expenses.

“The reduction of this allowance not only demoralises troops but also affects the efficiency of the operations,” said Hon. Nabakooba.

The Committee also asked government to engage with the EU and UN as well as other stakeholders with a view to reinstate the original troop allowance levels since the current rate is below the risk exposure of the soldiers.

“Government should engage the UN to pay $10.6m to compensate for the wear and tear of the equipment in line with the existing memorandum of understanding,” said Nabakooba.