Members of Parliament have tasked Government to increase operational funding to the Uganda Police Force so as to both improve the welfare of officers and to renovate police stations across the country.
This followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs by the Chairperson Hon. Judith Nabakooba (NRM, Mityana) , on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates for the financial year 2018/2019.
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (DP, Kalungu West County) noted that the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) officers received increased salaries with new ranks which was not the case for Police officers saying, How can we expect them to work effectively if they are not well remunerated?
Legislators also called for increased budget allocations for fuel and oil products for upcountry stations to improve operations. The report states that fuel consumption was limited to the headquarters for departments like ICT and Human Resource amounting to shs500 million each.
When people in rural areas ask for support from police, they are told that there is no fuel. We need to budget for provision of fuel to police stations based in rural areas, said Hon. Francis Mwijukye (FDC, BUhweju County).
In the report, the Committee observed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs established the Police and Prisons Authorities to oversee and supervise Uganda Police Force and Uganda Prison Services respectively, but the budgetary provision for the two authorities remained inadequate.
The Committee recommends that shs2.65 billion and shs1 billion be reallocated from Vote 309 and 120 to the Police and Prisons Authorities respectively, so as to enable them effectively carry out their oversight functions as provided in the respective Acts, said Nabakooba.
State Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon. Mario Obiga Kania said Government had invested in improving the welfare of officers in the Police Force. We plan to complete four blocks of flats that will house over 1500 lower ranking police officers , Hon. Obiga Kania said.
He also noted the need to deploy more police officers in areas with a high refugee influx so as to maintain peace and order between locals and refugees.
MPs also noted with concern that veterans were not receiving the much needed financial support as expected and asked Government to screen recipients while disbursing money to the former service men.
The Committee observed that the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs had accumulated pension and gratuity arrears worth shs503.4 billion and recommended that government considers amending the UPDF Act to include veterans' affairs concerns.
Source: Parliament of Uganda