The Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalization Bill, 2011 that has been trying to dissolve the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) monopoly and government’s public pension scheme will be withdrawn from Parliament following pressure from President Museveni and enraged stakeholders on Monday.
The bill that has been talk of every national Labour Day celebrations has been tabled before Parliament several times, thrown out and later brought back over the years.
TheUgandan understands that the disputed bill was discussed in a heated meeting with Mr. Museveni and stakeholders dominated with the National Organisation of Trade Unions of Uganda (Notu), a workers’ rights lobby body pitted against Matia Kasaija [the Minister of Finance] and his top staff in junior ministers David Bahati and Evelyne Anite, Gender minister Janet Mukwaya, Muruli Mukasa of Public Service and three workers MPs Aston Rwakajara, Charles Bakabulindi and Magret Rwabushaija. Representatives from Bank of Uganda, Capital Markets Authority and NSSF were also present.
Mr. Kasaija confirmed to a local daily that the heated meeting happened and the matter has to be further scrutinized and even discussed by cabinet.
“What is true is the meeting (on Monday) happened and took that kind of direction (recalling the bill),” he told local business journalist Frederic Musisi.
Inside the Pensions bill
It seeks to repeal the Pensions Act Cap. 286 and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Act.
It seeks to turn the public service pensions scheme into a contributory scheme.
The other objectives of the Bill are to remove the monopoly over mandatory contributions and to provide for fair contribution among licensed retirement benefit schemes.
Six years ago, the government enacted the Uganda Retirements Benefits Authority Act that created the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).
According to the latest data (2016), which the authority released several weeks ago, the total assets under management amounted to Shs 5.1 trillion ($1.5 billion), with Shs 62 billion ($18.2 million) recorded as liabilities in 2014. Analysts argue that with a mere 1.5 million members in a population of 35 million, it will be a very long time before NSSF builds the institutional capacity to shoulder social security burden for the entire population if it remains a monopoly.