Parliament told to stop shs 6 billion  annual levy on worker’s savings

NSSF

Trade Unions have asked Parliament to scrap off the 0.0256% equivalent to sh6 billion  in annual levy by Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) on workers savings held by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)

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. 

According to URBRA, this levy is charged in order for the Authority to be independent and effectively regulate the sector, with a view that over the longer term the Authority should be able to finance its operations.

The  National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) and the Central Organization of Free Trade Unions -COFTU wants the levy removed since its eating into the members’ savings.

The trade organizations made the demand when they were appearing before the Parliaments committee on Gender Labor and Social Development who are reconsidering the NSSF Bill 2021.

Last month, the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah gave the committee 10 days to scrutinize the National Social Security fund -NSSF Amendment Bill 2021.

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.

He returned the bill to the speaker, saying parliament needs to amend the commencement date of the Act so that it comes into force on the date of its publication in the gazette.

He also noted that only people above 45 years old and who have saved for over 10 years can access 20 per cent of their savings, saying anything else would be unsustainable for the fund. 

The president also disagreed with the proposal in the bill to allow Persons living with disabilities to access up to 75 per cent of their savings.

Now although the trade Unions agree with the President’s proposal on midterm access for 45-year-olds who have saved for 10 years, they want the levy scrapped.

Peter Werikhe, the Secretary General of NOTU and Former NSSF Board Member says that the regulator is thriving at the expense of Ugandans who are saving. 

He said this year the percentage will mean up to 7 billion shillings.

On the proposal that Ministry of Finance should supervise and manage the funds of now up to 15 trillion shilling, Werikhe states that the worst should be dual management between Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Finance. 

He said Ministry of Gender should handle the social protection  issue, while finance can handle the investment side.

Werikhe also rejects the proposal to have the Managing Director of NSSF to have voting rights.

 He said that the roles of oversight will conflict as the board cannot oversee the conduct of the MD who happens to be a board member with voting rights.

The trade Unions also want a forensic audit on the Makerere University Retirements benefit scheme for workers, saying that the University scheme will be greatly mismanaged looking at the past experiences.He says this funds of over 900 staff should be returned to the NSSF. 

Usher Wilson Owere the chairperson NOTU says that the security of the Makerere scheme is unknown, and the committee should take interest in it.

Flavia Kabahenda, the Committee Chairperson and Kyegegwa Woman MP says that they will conclude with the meeting with stakeholders on Friday with the Ministry of Finance. She says that the whole Parliament needs to get information from NOTU regarding the NSSF Bill.

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