By Samuel Sanya
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has opened up to public scrutiny in preparation for the liberalisation of the pensions sector, unveiling plans to invest in the Kenyan securities market.
All Ugandan employers with more than fi ve workers are required to remit 15% of each employee’s monthly salary to the fund as social security savings to be redeemed upon retirement, set at 55 years.
The fund held its fi rst members meeting to consolidate its position as
a market leader in anticipation of the passing into law of the Retirement Benefi ts Liberalisation Bill that will put an end to NSSF’s monopoly.
A pension’s regulator, the Uganda Retirement Benefi ts Regulatory Authority (URBRA) has been constituted and is currently licensing new pension fund custodians and fund managers as the sector opens up to new investment.
“I see liberalisation as an opportunity for us to be more open and accountable. We are working with the regulator to create new products and our short term target is to provide returns that are consistently 2% above infl ation,” Ivan Kyayonka, the NSSF chairman said.
“In the long term, we intend to provide a return higher than the commercial banks. We want to put our members at the centre of everything we do,” he added.
The fund’s balance sheet has grown by 76% to sh3trillion in the last year, and the fund is collecting over sh130b each month in Treasury bills, interest payments and member contributions.
Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director, revealed that the fund has worked out an arrangement with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to have a third party agency handle the procurement function.
The development will enable the fund to hasten development of the 5,000 housing units on the Temangalo land and 3,000 housing units in the Lubowa estates.
“We have already hired an actuary to carry out valuations. The fund intends to invest in more long term investments and less in short term investments since our members save over a long period of time,” Byarugaba said.
The fund has invested over sh1.6trillion in government treasury bonds, sh717b in fi xed deposits with commercial banks and has acquired major stakes in Stanbic Bank, Bank of Baroda, DFCU bank, UMEME, Uganda Clays, and Centum which are listed on the stock exchange.
Byarugaba revealed that the fund will start investing in Kenyan debt and equities and establish a private equity fund to expand its Ugandan investments into unlisted companies.