Deputy Speaker Anita Among has pledged her support towards the proposed amendment of the Parliamentary Pension Scheme (PPS) Act, to enable Members of Parliament who serve one term to access pension benefits.
Section 11 (1) of the Act states that except otherwise as provided for by this Act, only continuous service as a Member should be taken into account as pensionable service.
“I am aware that there are gaps in the Pension Act including the post-retirement medical care and voluntary pension for one term members.”
This was contained in her message read by the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President, Hon Peter Ogwang during the 10th Annual General Meeting of the PPS on Friday, 25 February 2022 in the Parliament Conference Hall.
She said that she will study the gaps further with a view to providing a more conducive legal and policy environment that will facilitate smooth operations for the scheme and maximum benefits to contributing members.
In reference to the investment income that increased from Shs29.5 billion in 2020 to Shs50 billion in 2021, Among said that the desire of the Parliamentary Commission is to see the members’ benefits and the scheme becoming a model in the country.
“For the Board, your task is to ensure that the fund is prudently managed and benefits paid out as they fall due. This gesture gives hope to the current members that their benefits claims will be honoured as they fall due,” said Among.
She further commended the Board for achieving a monthly pension payout growth from Shs190 million by January 2021 to over Shs465 million in June 2021 and paid by the 10th day every month.
“It gives me such pleasure to know that members still have an income to live on after Parliament. As the Board takes care of its roles, I urge the members to update their information as it is the key elements in processing their benefits,” Among said.
The Chairperson of the Board, Hon Arinaitwe Rwakajara, said that the Pensions Amendment Bill will be tabled in the next sitting of Parliament.
“The Bill is ready for presentation. The amendments proposed will be more comfortable for all members than the current status,” said Rwakajara.
He also gave highlights of the performance of the scheme, citing that the members’ contributions increased from Shs37.6 billion to Shs38.4 billion.
Rwakajara, however, pointed out that the scheme is still faced with the challenge of slow response and failure by members to update their files.
Responding to the amendment of the PPS Act, former board chairperson Hon. Remegio Achia, said that unlike previously where pension benefits were as low as Shs12 million, currently, an MP who serves one term has up to Shs400 million in pension benefits.
“We are waiting for the amendments to allow Members enjoy their benefits,” Achia said.
He also commended the current board and management for the achievements registered, saying that growth of the scheme is beneficial to all members.
The scheme’s Finance Manager, Elsie Kizito, said they registered an investment growth from Shs256.9 billion in 2020 to Shs277.3 billion in 2021.
“These investments are in shares purchased, treasury bills from government and fixed deposits,” said Kizito.
She, however, said that total net assets reduced from Shs313.6 billion in 2020 to Shs299.9 billion in 2021, attributing this to the massive payment of Shs90 billion to exiting Members of the 10th Parliament.