There are adequate funds under the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to pay midterm access, the Finance State Minister in Charge of Planning, Henry Musasizi has revealed.
Appearing before the Gender Committee of Parliament that is considering the issue of midterm access, the minister noted that while there have been concerns that the funds will have to liquidate some of its assets to finance Midterm access their analysis indicates that this will not be the case.
Musasizi however said that the access of the fund should be regulated by a statutory instrument issued by the Minister, adding that access can range from 0 % to 20 % depending on the availability of the funds to protect the fund.
The committee chairperson Flavia Kabahenda tasked the Minister to explain several levies imposed on the depositor’s savings.
She highlighted the 0.25 % levy amounting to Shillings 6 billion, which is derived from the 15 percent levy on each contributor’s savings.
She also questioned why some people who lost jobs are not catered for.
“How do you calculate the 10years that someone has saved? Someone might have lost a job, are you going to consider this person who lost a job and is above 45years, I want a rationale on how you calculate the 10years?” Kabahenda questioned.
Musasizi noted that the levies are not static and can be reduced.
He said several countries including Kenya were charging the levy. On who should manage the fund, Musasizi said that since the Ministry of Finance is an expert on money, they should be allowed to manage the fund.
When the committee chair asked if it is the Ministry of Finance that represents Uganda when it comes to international engagements with the International Labor Organization (ILO), Musasizi said that he only knows the fund is managed by finance.
Musasizi also said that it does not matter how much one has in savings as long as one has not saved for 10 years they do not qualify. Bubulo West MP, Peter Werikhe says the Government should revisit the levy on workers savings through the Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).
Margaret Rwabushaija, the Worker’s MP raised concern in regards to giving voting rights to the Managing Director of NSSF, saying this will make him untouchable. The last parliament approved a bill allowing depositors above the age of 45 who have saved for ten years access to access at least 20 percent of their savings.
However, the president returned the bill to Parliament asking them to consider among other things revising the access for only Ugandans who are 45 years of age and have saved for 10 years.