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 of the Fund, 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.
Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala MP says that allowing the management of the fund to go to Finance would mean finance can easily access this money and this is dangerous looking at the state of indebtedness.
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.
The Bill had endorsed a proposal for the government to allow savers who have clocked 45 years and had saved for 10 years to access 20 percent of their savings. After several months of back and forth with the fund managers and workers, the President said he would only assent to the Bill with amendments.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, Workers MPs including Margaret Rwabushaija, Dr Abdul Byakatonda, Agness Kunihira and Usher Wilson Were, the Chairman General of the National Organization of Trade Union- NOTU demanded that the Bill is returned immediately by the Attorney General and Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development for urgent consideration by the 11th Parliament.
Isiagi, who doubles as the Vice-Chairperson of the Budget Committee of Parliament was speaking in a meeting where the finance committee of Parliament was interfacing with URBRA officials led by the Chief Executive Officer, Martin Anthony Nsubuga. He claimed that this kind of access creates uncertainty since the fund will need to keep funds lying idle to pay beneficiaries.
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 committees observed that NSSF already lends to the government and other entities using instruments prescribed in the URBRA Act & Regulations including, among others; Treasury Bills, Bonds and government securities.
Kadaga was forced to abruptly adjourn plenary on Wednesday when Lyomoki declined to leave the floor while protesting a ruling by the speaker to postpone the second reading of the bill for a further two weeks.
Presented before Parliament in August 2019, the Bill has generated controversy in regard to mid-term access of funds and which ministry between that of Finance and Gender should take charge of the finances.
Members of Parliament on the joint committee composed of Finance and Gender committees of parliament have in the past months engaged to finalize building consensus especially on the need for NSSF members who are below 45 years and have not saved for at least 10 years to be allowed to benefit from the midterm access window.
A joint team of members of the gender and finance committees is scrutinizing the NSSF bill, which among others, seeks to make it mandatory for all workers to register and contribute to NSSF, allow for self-employed people to contribute to NSSF and allow midterm access to benefits for voluntary members.