KAMPALA —The ongoing investigations into the conduct of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) former Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba will not in any way affect the members’ savings, Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija has said.
This comes almost three weeks after the President Yoweri Museveni on December 22, 2022, directed the Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development-MGLSD Betty Amongi, to investigate the alleged mismanagement of the fund by the MD.
This followed a 22-page petition to the president, signed by more than 100 workers citing mismanagement and contract procurement issues. With an investment portfolio of up to 17 trillion Shillings, NSSF is Uganda’s largest retirement benefits scheme, overseen by the two ministries, though directly under MGLSD.
Following the president’s directive, Amongi instructed the NSSF board of trustees to conduct investigations, which they handed to the Inspectorate of Government and the Auditor General’s office. The investigations commenced on Thursday last week, and are expected to last for two months.
As a result, the Inspector General of Government-IGG halted any financial transactions at the fund, which aroused concern among the members about the safety of their savings and payment of their benefits within the investigation period. However, Finance Minister, Matia Kasaijja told journalists at the government-owned media center that the investigations are a normal process that takes place in all entities.
“Such investigations take place everywhere, and probing is not criminalization so there is no cause for alarm for whatever reason because your money is still intact and safe,” Kasaijja said. He said that his ministry agrees with the efforts of the MGLSD for the re-orientation of NSSF, such that it can expand its membership, and ensure more compliance.
On her part, Amongi said that MSLD has already submitted all the relevant documentation to the IGG and the Auditor General to facilitate the investigations.
“The operations at NSSF are going on normally, and nothing has changed except that there are investigations about the former MD, whose outcome is not yet even known at the moment. So fellow Ugandans do not panic, we are doing the right thing and protecting your money,” said Amongi.
According to Amongi, the outcome of the investigations will only determine the managerial agenda, but not the operations of the fund, which involve paying out benefits and investments.
Martin Nsubuga, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority, said that as the sector regulators, they are closely following the events at the fund with the interest of protecting the members’ interests.
The NSSF Deputy Managing Director, Patrick Ayota, said that members are free to apply for their benefits as and when they need them as it has always been done and they will receive them in time.
“Our operations are going on very well, and we have so far paid up to 13 billion Shillings this month, both in midterm access and the matured benefits.”