KAMPALA — The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has called for the expedited amendment of the law that governs the Parliamentary Pension Scheme.
The Speaker said that the proposals have been talked about for years, with every meeting of the Parliamentary Pension Scheme (PPS) highlighting the need to amend the law.
“We have a few months in this term. If it is not a very big issue, we can still achieve it during this tenure and get this out of the way,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker also commended the Parliamentary Pension Scheme for its robust investments that have contributed to economic growth through among others, treasury bills and bonds.
Kadaga made the remarks while officiating at the Ninth Annual General Meeting of the Parliamentary Pension Scheme on Friday, 26 February 2021.
She called Members of Parliament and staff to always update their records in the Scheme to enable it allocate payments to intended beneficiaries.
Hon. Dr. Francis Epetait, a member of the board of trustees of the Parliamentary Pension Scheme said that the amendments to the law have been drafted and are to be gazetted.
“One of the issues we are proposing is to amend the requirement of the continuous two terms of service (10 years) for one (MP) to access pension, to one term (five years),” said Dr. Epetait.
He said the reason for the amendment was that the salary and pensionable amount for a former Member of Parliament after one term in office was small adding that, ‘they received trivial pension payments compared to those who were able to serve two terms’.
Epetait revealed that the Scheme’s investment income before tax increased from shs19.97 billion to shs29.5 billion in the financial year 2019/2020, representing an increase of 47.98 per cent compared to a decline of 13.4 per cent in year 2018/2019.
“We promptly paid out pension benefits amounting to shs1.95 billion; we paid out overdue debt benefits amounting to shs162 billion, and disbursed loans worth shs10 billion to 154 members,” Dr. Epetait said.
Nightingale Mirembe Ssenoga, the PPS Chief Operations Officer said that among the proposed amendments to the PPS Act was to find ways of encompassing Members of Parliament who were exiting the scheme after serving for one term, but would have loved to stay, which the law does not allow.
Mirembe also highlighted concerns raised by the Auditor General including self-sustainability of the scheme, accumulation of leave days posed by understaffing as well as segregation of duties as per the PPS Act that had not been taken care of.
“The board signatories are in compliance with the Parliamentary Pensions Act. The sustainability of the Scheme was also taken care of in the Strategic Plan 2018 – 2023. The PPS board also outsourced some responsibilities and key positions are yet to be filled to cater for understaffing,” said Mirembe.
At the meeting, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and the Clerk to Parliament Mrs. Jane L. Kibirige were presented with awards in honor of their exceptional leadership and contribution to the success of Parliamentary Pension Scheme over the years.