Kampala — The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima's monthly earnings will jump from Shs1.53 million to Shs1.6 millioon under a modest five per cent salary increment announced last week.
At the bottom end of the scale, army privates, whose salaries rise from Shs140,320 to Shs180,000 last year, will now get Shs210,000. Primary school teachers earn Shs10,000 less while police constables earn Shs160,000.
In an August 3 letter to senior officers and specialised units, the UPDF's Joint Chief of Staff Brig. Robert Rusoke said the pay raise is part of a "step-by-step approach" to improve soldier's welfare.
This untaxable income - soldiers are exempt from income tax - does not include monthly allowances paid to professionals employed in the army and other high-ranking officers. According to Brig. Rusoke, the increase is less than had earlier been anticipated.
"In the financial year 2002/3 negotiations between Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance, which targeted 10 per cent increase, yielded a salary increase of 5 per cent for officers and men and this was paid to all across the board," he said in the letter.
However, the Finance Ministry plans a further five per cent increase for all soldiers next financial year.
The Defence/Army spokesperson, Lt Col. Felix Kulayigye, said: "Previously, right from 2001, public servants have been receiving salary increment. But soldiers didn't get. We are now trying to catch up with the rest of public servants."
The increase leaves top officers lagging behind in pay scales compared to other professions, including academic.
For instance, a government university professor earns Shs3.8 million per month and associate professors earn Shs2.7 million which income is taxable.
However, an education carries some financial weight in the army; officers and men with diplomas get a qualification allowance of Shs100,000 which rises to Shs200,000 for university graduates.
Recipients of these allowances include doctors, lawyers and personnel in the specialised armoured, marine, airforce and artillery units.
The army also offers some perks, including fuel allowances, office imprest and accommodation depending on one's deployment and rank.
For example, a general is entitled to fuel worth over Shs400, 000 a month, official transport with a chauffeur, armed escorts, medical insurance and education for children in army-run schools.
Battalion and division commanders are entitled to a research fund of Shs100,000 and Shs300,000 respectively on top of an operations fund.
UPDF pay raise in Summary
Rank Old Salary New Salary
General 1,532,219 1,608,830
Lt. Gen 1,399,092 1,469,047
Maj. Gen 1,265,970 1,329,269
Brigadier 1,167,639 1,226,021
Colonel 909,594 955,074
Lt. Col 751,104 788,659
Major 678,878 788,659
Captain 469,530 493,007
Lt. 423,422 444,593
2Lt. 313,822 329,513
WO1 283,822 298,013
WO2 262,186 275,295
S/SGT 220,000 231,000
SGT 215,000 225,750
CPL 210,000 220,500
L/CPL 205,000 215,250
PTE 200,000 210,000
O/CADET 215,000 225,750