Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Gender committee of Parliament has resolved to revert the management and supervision of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to the Ministry of Gender.
The fund is a government agency responsible for the collection, investment and distribution of retirement funds from employees who are not covered by the government retirement scheme. Every month, institutions deduct 5 percent of employees salaries as a contribution to NSSF, and the employers top it up with 10 percent. Its portfolio is estimated at 15 trillion Shillings.
The government had initially wanted to provide for dual supervision of the Fund, putting the Ministry of Gender in charge of the social security arm, which deals with the welfare of workers and their savings while the Ministry of Finance, would supervise the investment arm which deals with the business component where savings are invested in assets to generate income.
However, President Yoweri Museveni wrote to Parliament objecting to the suggestion for dual supervision. The President advised that the split oversight mandate would cause delays in decision making and create loopholes for corruption. On the basis of the guidance, the 10th Parliament voted to retain the supervision of the fund under the Ministry of Finance.
But he did not assent to the law, as enacted by the 10th parliament. Instead, he returned it to the 11th parliament for further scrutiny. After a series of engagements with stakeholders, the committee tasked with the job has now recommended that the supervision of NSSF reverts to the Ministry of Gender.
The committee did not accept the issue of dual supervision of the fund as earlier on proposed, and also rejected the idea of having the NSSF managing director as a member of the board with voting rights, according to members of the committee who preferred to speak off the record.
“We have all agreed that the fund should remain with the Ministry of Gender, because this is a social protection fund, and that Finance cannot have the fund at its disposal if it is moved under their direct management and supervision,” a source said. Another MP said that they had to endure a lot of pressure to make the decision against the Ministry of Finance.
Meanwhile, the members said that they have yielded to requests to allow persons with disability access to 50 percent of their savings when they clock 40. The initial approval was to offer them access to 75 percent of accrued benefits after a year out of employment, which however was rejected by the president with advice that the clause should be deleted.
The President argued that allowing Persons with Disabilities access to the fund on such ground will pit the savers at a high risk of poverty in old age. But the National Union of Disabled persons said that Persons with Disabilities grow weaker as they age and need to have their money when they can still use it.
A committee member told URN that they heard from the different Unions of persons with disabilities, and agreed to maintain the clause with adjustments in the percentages that can be accessed. The MPs also confirmed to URN that the midterm access has been approved for persons who have saved for 10 years and have clocked 45 years of age.
The report is yet to be presented to Parliament for the second reading of the bill.