The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has reiterated the importance of protecting workers’ savings stressing that any diversion of the funds is a criminal act.
She also directed investigations into the operations and management of the National Social Security Fund by a select committee.
Among said that the members of the committee will be announced on Monday, 23 January 2022.
“The money that goes to NSSF belongs to our workers. We are here to legislate for people, for our constituents and for humanity. It is one more reason why we must look at issues that affect the workers of this country,” she said.
She said that for a fund belonging to workers in Uganda who depend on it in their retirement, certainty is very important and workers need to know if their money is secure.
The Speakers’ statement preceded a report from the Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi.
Media has been awash with allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the Shs17.9 trillion fund.
The controversy revolved around the reappointment of the then Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba, who had attained the age of 60 and had already served two terms.
The fund is supervised by both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Gender.
Amongi in her report said that the member’s savings are safe as they were five years ago and are invested as fixed income, equities and real estate.
“The fixed income portfolio is invested in government bonds, which are the safest investment instruments for they are guaranteed by sovereign governments,” she said.
Amongi added that as of the end of December 2022, fixed income constituted 78 per cent of the investment portfolio, equities 15 per cent and real estate, seven per cent.
She said that although President Museveni and the board of NSSF had recommended the reappointment of Byarugaba and Deputy Managing Director, Patrick Ayota, several petitions on mismanagement and alleged corruption at the entity led to the halting of the process.
She added that a meeting on 22 December 2022 with the President decided that petitions be referred for investigation, and Byarugaba stays out of office.
When the Speaker Among asked her for documentary evidence, she confirmed that the meeting took place but didn’t have the documentary evidence.
Among asked the Minister to bring all the letters she wrote to the board and the President in regard to the appointment of the managing directors.
“We want all the documentation in regards to NSSF. We are acting under Article 90 and Rule 208 of the Rules of Procedure compelling you to give us all the documentation regarding your communication,” she said.
Hon. Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (NUP, Kassanda North) said that the documents tabled by the minister raised key issues that Parliament should take interest in.
He said that reports earlier indicated that because the former MD did not clear the Shs6 billion needed for the strategic direction of growing the funds, the minister did not reappoint him.
Rushenyi County MP, Hon. Naome Kabasharira wondered whether it was a coincidence that when Byarugaba declined to provide the Shs6 billion, that is when he was kicked out.
She also said both the former MD and Deputy MD should be held liable and not only one.
Hon. Arinaitwe Rwakajara (NRM, Workers Representative) asked the House to call for a thorough investigation to save workers’ money.