Parliament passes NSSF Bill, savers to access funds at 45 years

Mps learners homeschooling TV Radio programmesParliament has passed the National Social Security Fund- NSSF Bill 2019, giving Ugandans aged over 45 years and those who have saved for 10 years to access 20 per cent of their savings.

Agnes Kunihira, the Vice-Chairperson Gender Committee said Ugandans should be pleased about the passing of the bill.

“The savers with NSSF should be happy with what we have passed the law, the part that is remaining we have no control, as it is the President to assent to it. A member can access their savings up to 20%, if you have been a member for 10 years or above 45 years,” Kunihira said.

Parliament chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga also resolved on Wednesday that there should be dual management of the fund with the Minister of Finance in charge of the money and its investment while the Ministry of Gender should handle the social issues affecting the savers.

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 MPs had also failed to agree on the age group of people to access the funds and the percentage that should be given out. But the joint committee on Finance and Gender which scrutinised the bill, in their report, proposed that only members aged above 45 and who have saved for at least 10 years, should be allowed to access 20 per cent of their benefits.

Sam Lyomoki, the Workers MP welcomed the bill. He also said that supervision of the fund is now clear.

“On financial and investment issues, it will be the Minister of Finance, while issues of policy like appointment of the board, that will be handled by the Gender and Labour minister,” Lyomoki said.

Other amendments include the mandatory savings by all workers in the formal sector. This implies that employers employing less than five people will be required to contribute to the fund.

However, Parliament did not approve of unemployment benefits. The proposal was that a member of the Fund who has been unemployed for a continuous period of two years will be eligible for unemployment benefits. The rejected proposal had provided that the member must show evidence of having actively sought employment in vain. There are about 1.5 million NSSF subscribers.

The Bill was tabled in 2019 by the state for Youth and Children Affairs Minister, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi. It proposed 29 amendments to expand social security coverage through mandatory contributions of all workers regardless of the size of the enterprise or number of workers. It also seeks to establish a stakeholder board, provide for midterm access to voluntary contributions and enhance fines.

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