President Museveni clarifies on NSSF 20% payout

By Douglas Mubiru

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Discussions on the proposed mid-term access to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) savings by workers continue to take shape. This follows various stakeholders consulting and analysing scenarios underpinning the implication of the proposed withdrawal on the fund.

President Yoweri Museveni and lawmakers on the parliamentary finance committee have agreed to further study, analyse and conduct extensive consultations for at least a month on the proposed NSSF (Amendment) Bill.

During a meeting that was convened last Thursday at State House, Entebbe, MPs, led by committee chairperson Henry Musasizi, agreed with the President that there is need to domore consultations and analysis on the implications of the proposed mid-term withdrawals.

The rationale behind Museveni's caution to MPs, State House officials said, is the negative effect on the money due to the savers if there is a reduction as a result of the mid-term withdrawals.

The MPs met the President to seek his views on the proposed amendment. State House officials noted that the meeting agreed to give the process a period of about a month to discuss the findings from the consultative process and analysis of the proposed amendments.

The original Bill, submitted by the Government, provided for mid-term access for voluntary savers. However, the joint parliamentary committee of finance and gender included a provision, to among other things, cater for mandatory savers, by allowing NSSF members who are 45 years and above or those below 45, but have saved for more than 10 years, to have 20% midterm access to their savings.

Museveni and the MPs also agreed to study the idea of withdrawing the Bill altogether while the analysis on its implications on the fund is being done.

The proposal by MPs to disband the regulator in order to save workers' money from funding bureaucrats was also accepted by the President as discussions regarding the proposed amendments continue.

A portion of the NSSF funds are taken by the regulator, Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), a move that MPs strongly oppose, saying it imposes unwanted costs on workers' money.

According to State House, the President also reminded MPs that the NSSF fund, whose current value is sh13 trillion, has grown to that level because of Government's wise decisions.

"You should first apply ekibalo (calculations), weigh and analyse what will happen to the fund if members withdraw their savings. It may not be wrong to withdraw, but you need to study it," Museveni said, advising MPs to analyse the benefits and losses to the fund before interfering with it.

"If you withdraw the money early, the fund will not grow, the more the business, the more the savings and interests. So, please look into that," he said.