MID – TERM ACCESS IS A FAR CRY AND IMPOSSIBLE – MATIA KASAIJA
BY Turinawe Abel
The minister of finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija has said that the call by members saving with NSSF to have access to their savings before the recommended age of 55 is impossible because the fund was instituted to save money for one’s retirement but not for emergencies.
“The purpose of we (Government) putting this arrangement in place and asking employees to save is for you to have something to fall back to on retirement,” he said. The Minister made this statement yesterday at Kampala Serena hotel during the 8th NSSF Annual Members meeting that was held virtually due to the prevailing conditions brought about by COVID-19. He also said that that cabinet proposed for formation of a SACCO for members to access emergency funds which is still in consideration. The Minister declared an interest of 10.75% interest that will be paid out to members in the financial year 2019/20.
Kasaija also said that he will see to it that the NSSF bill is passed into law as soon as possible because it will spur economic development. “I pledge my support to ensure that this bill will pass because it will increase the country’s GDP to saving ratio which is at 21% currently.” He said he also concluded that the NSSF is one of the most efficiently run institutions under the Finance ministry
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, the Managing Director of NSSF Richard Byarugaba said that total assets of the Fund grew to UGX13.3t IN 2019/20 up from UGX11.3t IN 2018/19 total funds stand at UGX13.1t. Total revenue collected by the fund during the FY19/20 grew to UGX1.27t up from UGX1.2t in FY18/19, and revenue collected from investments stood at UGX1.7t and UGX1.4t will be paid to members as interest
On the issue of mid-term access by members, Byarugaba had this to say. “In the bill, mid-term access was only allowed to voluntary contribution, however the committee of parliament recommended that mid-term access should also be extended to mandatory contributions which is still being discussed and pending approval. The other issue was to reduce the number eligible to save with the fund from five employees to one,” he said. Byarugaba also said that the sticky issue on which ministry between the Finance and Gender ministry should supervise the Fund, was also being discussed so that the bill is fast tracked and passed into law.
Over 25,000 members registered and attended the virtual members meeting using social media and television, and were able to send in questions which were answered in real time by the panelists. Members were also able to send in their feedback.