The bill also streamlined the supervision of the 15 trillion shilling fund between the Ministries of Gender and of Finance. The workers, government, and the Gender committee agreed to have the Ministry of Gender supervise the social security aspect, while the Ministry of Finance will be in charge of the finance and investment aspects.
Usher Wilson Owere, the NOTU Chairperson, says that they have given parliament an ultimatum of up to November Thursday 18th, 2021 to pass the bill into law to allow workers access their savings, or else they mobilize workers to protest the delay.
After the presentation of the Bill, Deputy Speaker Among postponed the debate saying members should first read the report before the debate. Although the matter appeared on the order paper for subsequent days, it never came up for debate until today, when it was listed as business to follow.
The bill which had been passed by the 10th parliament allowed persons with disabilities access to 75 per cent of accrued benefits after a year with no job, and granted access to 20 per cent of accrued benefits to the other savers who clock 45 or those who have saved for at least 10 years.
URBRA which is mandated to regulate and supervise the establishment, management and operation of retirement benefits schemes in Uganda levies a compulsory annual fee paid by NSSF and other retirement benefits schemes of up to 0.0256 % of the Total Asset Value in the statement of financial position.
The 10th parliament passed the NSSF bill allowing for midterm access by savers above 45 years or at least those who have saved for 10 years. However, the president didn’t assent to the bill until the expiry of the 10th parliament.
In September last year MPs disagreed over the clauses relating to midterm access and the supervision of the funds. At the initial stages of the Bill, the government wanted the Ministry of Finance to supervise the fund, which had earlier been transferred to the Gender docket.
The Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Richard Byarugaba has said that they will have no option but to pay the 20 per cent to each saver as long as it is approved by Parliament.
In the letter, which is dated May 5, 2020, Byarugaba says the fund will have to pay at least 2.6trillion to those who might need their pay bto go through covid-19 crisis. This is in addition to the 1.1 trillion that it might need to pay to those who have reached 55 years old, the legal age where one can draw their savings. In total, the fund will need cash totaling Shs 3.7 trillion for this moment. But there is no ready cash to meet this obligation, Byarugaba argued.
The committee comprising legislators from the Finance and Gender committees, is currently reviewing the Bill, which, among others, seeks to amend the NSSF Act, to change the taxation regime for social security contributions investment returns and benefits, introduce voluntary contributions over and above the standard contribution of five per cent and allows midterm access to voluntary contributions.