22 February 2013

Uganda: Veteran Soldiers to Be Paid Sh1 Trillion

The Government is to pay veteran soldiers sh1 trillion as pension and gratuity that has been accumulating over the years.

"The Government is making every effort to ensure that this money is paid in a period of three years," said defence minister Crispus Kiyonga.

According to Kiyonga, commuted pension and gratuity is a lump-sum payment given once to soldiers who retire after serving for at least nine years.

It is calculated while taking into account monthly salary at the time of discharge, the length of service and the rank.

Answering a question by Kalungu East MP Vincent Ssempijja, Kiyonga said: "Efforts to pay veterans are being made. We want to ensure that this backlog of the debt is put behind.

"A special department at the level of chieftaincy has been created in the UPDF to assist the pension authority and public service ministry in processing information that is required to effect payment of the benefits to veterans or their survivors," Kiyonga explained.

He said in order to improve the records of veterans, a special country-wide exercise was carried out in 2010 to get the required data for calculating the benefits.

Kiyonga added that the defence ministry had developed full-proof data for calculation of veteran's benefits, saying the Government had a computerised system that would automatically calculate the benefits of the retired.

"We are holding meetings between the Ministry of Defence and that of Public Service to follow up payments of veterans," he said.

Explaining the procedure of claiming for retirement benefits, Kiyonga told Parliament that upon retirement, discharge certificates are issued. These indicate names, rank and period of service. The data is then fed into the pension- management system used to compute pension and gratuity.

"Once money is available, payments are remitted to the claimants' bank accounts.

For survivors benefits, the family fills forms, which once passed by the office of the administrator general, are used to calculate the benefits," he added.

Kiyonga, however, did not specify which type of veterans would get the package or whether those of the defunct army would also benefit.

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