KAMPALA – The Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mr Richard Byarugaba, has said he is in support of paying out 20% to its members as long as it is backed by the law.
Byarugaba has come under fire from various sections of the public after writing to the Finance minister, warning that midterm access would cripple the Fund.
But he said NSSF is not in any way against midterm access for members and has been pushing the same since 2011.
“I am not standing in anyone’s way to access their benefits but only acting according to the law; the current NSSF act. The NSSF amendment bill has been put in cabinet and passed on to Parliament. It is now sitting in the committee of Gender, labour and social development and the Finance committee. The speaker of Parliament has already directed that the matter be brought to the floor of Parliament and we are waiting for that,” Mr Byarugaba said on Monday.
According to Byarugaba, the new amendment bill contains a number of other social benefits like medical benefits, unemployment benefits, education benefits and housing benefits that encourage midterm access for its members under those categories.
“In a situation like this where members have lost their jobs, the Unemployment benefits would apply as long as the member can prove that they have been unemployed for let’s say 3 months. We would gladly pay such a member because we want our members to live a better life even in the bad times like this,” Byarugaba noted
As it is now, NSSF is not a social security fund although its name says so. NSSF is a provident fund meaning people put in money, in this case, 5% from employees and 10% from employers. This money is invested in long term projects and products shared per year on equal basis depending on the amount each member has on their account. At a later period as stated by the laws, in this case at 55 years or in case of a death, the money is paid out as a lump sum. This means that other benefits are not covered. We recognize that members want other social security benefits and that is why we have been pushing the amendment bill.”
According to him, if the bill was passed by Parliament, NSSF would be willing to pay members immediately.
Commenting on the claims by some social media users that NSSF does not have the money to pay out, Byarugaba noted that the fund has the money but its invested in assets simply because 70% of its it’s members are below 30 years and will not be requiring their benefits for the next 25 years.
Currently the fund is managing over Shs11.3trillion that is invested in fixed income, equities, Real estate and other assets with in East Africa.