Uganda: Museveni gives green light to NSSF access in the medium term

Entebbe, Uganda – President Yoweri Museveni compared himself to Pontius Pilate in the Bible because he reluctantly agreed that workers should have medium-term access to their savings in the national social security fund. He today called on Gender, Labor and Social Development Minister Betty Amongi to make changes to the NSSF bill and send it back for approval.

Using dramatic backdrops and biblical sayings, the president noted that if that didn’t work, it would be a lesson learned together.

“Do you remember Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice? Shylock with his pound of flesh whether you die or what! So that the NRM isn’t that Shylock and since these people think that’s the solution, let’s go. . If not, work we’ll see … … let’s learn together instead of being like a shylock, “said the president … before adding:” Come on, I’m washing my hands. have become Pontius Pilate!

Shylock is a fictional character in William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, a Venetian Jewish loan shark.

Whereas in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Pontius Pilate “washed his hands before the multitude saying: I am innocent of the blood of this righteous”. This was to show the crowd that he didn’t want Jesus dead, but ordered his death because that’s what the people wanted. He washes his hands of his responsibility.

What has been agreed

It is now agreed that someone who is 45 years old and has saved for ten years can access up to 20% of their savings. The start date will be set in the statutory instrument, supervision of the fund is provided by the Ministry of Finance, while the NSSF MD is a member of the board.

Conflicting information and a change in wording regarding the National Social Security Bill (Amendment) forced the President to push a major decision on medium-term access for workers to today.

Workers’ representatives attended the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Finance headed by Minister Matia Kasaijja, NSSF Director General Richard Byarugaba members of NOTU and COFTU.

The president said he was more concerned about destroying the viability of the fund.

“The fear was that if you do that you degrade the huge amount of money put in and the fund uses to invest instead of going begging overseas. Plus a worker can end up getting less than $ 30 million. upon retirement, “he said.

NSSF explains

According to NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba, the fund collects Shs 125 billion per month, Shs 1.5 trillion per year and disburses up to Shs 900 billion for members eligible for other benefits.

However, Minister Amongi said that they had looked into all the issues and their conclusion was that it would not have a substantial impact on the depletion of the fund as the fund is 15 trillion shillings and they need 800 to 1,000 billion shillings to handle the mid-term access at a time.

“We agreed to schedule it. We don’t pay all of a sudden but around 20% of the members over a period of time and also have criteria like age and amount saved,” she said.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said they have already briefed the president on how they will handle this, including forming regulations that will govern how the money will come out.

Usher Owere thanks the president

NOTU General Chairman Usher Owere congratulated President Museveni on his bold move and thanked him on behalf of Ugandan workers for listening to their plight.

“The workers are very happy with you. You saved this country and the workers will never forget you. I thank the workers for being patient,” he said.

Each month, institutions take 5% of employees’ salaries as a contribution to the NSSF, employers supplement it with 10% while the NSSF reports 12% to them.

The NSSF is a government agency responsible for the collection, custody, responsible investment and distribution of private sector employee pension funds who are not covered by the government pension plan.

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