The UPDF recently launched financial literacy sessions for officers planning to retire from the force, at the end of their careers.
Launching the sessions at Gaddafi barracks in Jinja, the army’s chief of defence forces, Gen David Muhoozi, said the move was intended to ensure that retirees become model citizens on their return to civilian life.
The programmes are being held in three-day sessions, where soldiers are trained on how to use their finances prudently, while also learning to live on viable investments.
The call came as 471 UPDF officers, set to retire from the force on November 22, 2017, took their turn to learn various lessons from several facilitators in the private sector, last week. Gen Muhoozi urged officers to use pension funds to support their families.
“Our officers should use their funds to unite and support their families other than wasting it in useless ventures like alcohol and prostitutes,” Muhoozi urged. “We are aware that on retirement, most of our officers spend their pensions in useless ventures but with this finance training, there is hope that a big number of them will reform.”
He challenged the officers to take interest in agriculture and jointly seek assistance from Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) programme for support.
“We are lucky that OWC is being manned by our own UPDF soldiers, and I urge you to form farming groups amongst yourselves and jointly seek support from them,” Muhoozi said.
Of those retiring from the force, 103 hold the rank of captain and major, while the rest are at lower ranks. However, some retiring officers like Capt Madina Nabirye complained about delays in receiving gratuity funds.
“We also prefer investing our gratuity funds but the challenge is that funds take long to reach our accounts and some of our colleagues who retired four years ago are still waiting for the same money,” Nabirye said.
In response, the army’s chief of personnel, Brig George Igumba, said all gratuity funds and the pension fees of the first month would be deposited on the officers’ individual bank accounts on December 22, 2017 for the latest retirees.
Brig Igumba added: “Retirement is a good gesture and everyone is subject to the same standard, but the biggest reason why some officers take long without receiving their funds, is because some of them do not swear affidavits on time, while for others their real names don’t match with those on the national identity cards”.