Uganda: NSSF Expresses Readiness to Make Payouts Next Month

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has said it is ready to effect pay-outs to savers eligible for the midterm benefits next month if the NSSF Amendment Bill 2021 is swiftly passed into law.

NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba told Daily Monitor last Thursday the fund is finalising a shift in the Fund system to allow for pay out.

Mr Byarugaba said this was necessary because the current system, as enshrined in the policy, would not permit the Fund to implement a midterm access.

“We were meant to implement it in October, but we are doing it now. On November 1, we will have a new system and if the law is passed by then, we will able to make those payments,” he said.

Mr Byarugaba said the Fund projects payout of midterm benefits this year alone to hit the Shs500b mark. Mid-term access of up to 20 per cent benefits for those who are 45 years and above, and have made regular contributions for at least 10 years, was endorsed by President Museveni on August 4.

It, however, hit a snag when Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah annulled business from the 10th Parliament.

This included the NSSF Amendment Bill (2019) that granted access to the benefits. This forced the government to reintroduce the Bill, which was tabled for first reading on September 29.

The Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development, Ms Betty Amongi, who is responsible for the Bill, assured Ugandans that the government will have the law ready by end of this month.

“We are working around the clock to ensure that we harmonise within [the] government… at worst in the next one month, we must conclude the Bill and it is sent to the President… Since the President’s views will be incorporated in, we will move forward and conclude it,” Ms Amongi said.

The 11th Parliament has waived a number of provisions in the elaborate process of making a Law to allow for expeditious passing of the Bill. Instead of 45 days, the Speaker directed that the Committee stage take only eight days.

This means processing by the committee will be concluded by October 8, and the Bill will be returned for second reading before debate on the committee report commences.

Ms Amongi is also optimistic that since most of the provisions had already been debated, Parliament will not take long.

If all goes smoothly and the Bill is passed, it will be sent back to the president for assent.

Last stages of bill

The President has 30 days to assent or return the Bill to Parliament. According to the provisions in the Bill, the Minister for Finance will also play a role in determining when savers will start to access the benefits by way of a statutory instrument.

“This Act shall come into force upon publication in the Gazette, except for Section 24A, which shall come into force on a date to be appointed by the minister by statutory instrument on the advice of the Board,” the Bill reads in part.

The instrument is expected to issue guidelines prescribing the regulations and procedure that eligible NSSF members have to follow in accessing up to 20 per cent portion of their savings.

The Fund management in August said it would make suggestions to the instrument, including to cluster and prioritise the payout according to groups. Such groups’ qualifications may include age, health status, and eligible members to access the 20 per cent benefits in a lump sum.


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Author : Monitor

Publish date : 2021-10-05 08:21:54

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