NSSF set to recover over UGX160 billion from employers

By Patricia Osman

The National Social Security Fund is seeking to recover over 160 billion shillings following announcement of a grace period of 3 months for all employers that have not remitted employees ‘social security contributions to agree a payment plan.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba says in exchange, the Fund will waive up to 95% of the penalty amount owed.

10,839 out of more than 33,270 employers registered with the Fund have not paid NSSF contributions in a period ranging from 2 months up to 7 years thereby denying their employees social security protection.

Mr. Byarugaba said that although it is the obligation of every employer to pay social security contributions for their employees on a timely basis and in correct amounts, the Fund recognizes that for various reasons, some employers may be unable to remit funds on a regular basis. Eventually, they get overwhelmed by the arrears and penalties levied on unremitted funds.

“Therefore for the next 90 days, we have declared an Amnesty for all defaulting employers to allow them negotiate payment plans with the Fund. In turn, I will waive up to 95% of the penalty the defaulting employer is supposed to pay. This is on condition that such an employer comes forward, commits to clear all the arrears owed in a period to be agreed by signing a Deed of Settlement,” Byarugaba said.

Section 14 (2) of the NSSF Act empowers the Managing Director to waive “whole or part of any penalty subject to such conditions as he or she may determine.”

He added that using a similar approach, the Fund has already recovered about Ushs 13.7 billion since July 2017 from 380 employers who came forward and signed Deeds of Settlement.

Mr. Byarugaba said that employers that do not take advantage of the Amnesty window risk court action to recover the arrears, the penalty and interest accrued.

“Litigation is our last resort. We prefer to have discussions with employers as per our Relationship Management business model, because we understand that sometimes, businesses face challenges with their cash flows. However, employers that not only categorically default but are also unwilling to agree payment plans with the Fund will be taken to court,” he said.
Information available from the Fund indicates that 174 employers have been arraigned before courts of law and over Ushs 17.8 billion has been recovered in the process.
Byarugaba added that beyond paying for their employees’ social security, employers should know that remitting NSSF is good for their business.

“Companies that do business with the government, many other government agencies and even in the private sector are required to present clearance certificates confirming that they are NSSF compliant. We also know that employers who pay social security contributions easily attract and retain the best employees. It is therefore a good business decision for employers to pay NSSF contributions,” he said.

As at end of December 2018, the Fund was worth Ushs 10.2 trillion up from Ushs 8.7 trillion in December 2017. Monthly average contributions are now at over Ushs 96 billion.

NSSF, Mulago, and other players partner in blood donation drive

By Deo Wasswa
National social security fund, Mulago Hospital, Uganda Blood Bank and Uganda Red Cross society have entered into partnership to collect over 6000 units of blood in a bid to save lives and also avoid blood shortages that usually hit the upcountry health facilities.

The week long drive campaign will be collecting blood from the public in different centers which includes Constitutional Square, Workers House, Clock Tower, Mukwano Arcade and Owino Market, Kalerwe, Bwaise, Mukono, and Entebbe.

Speaking at the blood donation launch, Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire the Director Uganda Blood Transfusion Services has commended NSSF and its partners in championing this cause, saying that whereas as UBTS they are mandated to collect 1,200 units of blood daily to meet the country’s demand but they are only able to collect under 800, units due to various challenges that range from access to funding and other logistics.

“Many of our international partners are cutting back their support which has left the National Blood Bank with challenges. We therefore have to start looking within the country for partners. We appreciate organizations such as NSSF that have come in to fill this void. We hope other organizations and individuals can emulate this gesture,” Dr Kyeyune said.

To qualify as a blood donor, someone has to be above the age of 17 years, weigh more than 45kg, and is in good health.

Statistics from World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that Uganda has an annual demand of about 340,000 units of blood but falls short by over 100,000 units. Last year, only 240,000 units were collected against a targeted 340,000 units in Uganda. This year, The Uganda Blood Bank is aiming to collect 300,000 units of blood.

At the same event, Richard Byarugaba, the managing director of NSSF noted that the reason why they champion this cause annual is the passionate the fund has about the communities they serve and believe a healthy community is critical for the fulfillment of the fund’s mandate.

‘’That is why we are committing resources and our office spaces this week as donation collection points” said Byarugaba.

Under the theme “Stand Up for Life”, the donation drive will take place at the Constitutional Square in Kampala, Workers House, Clock Tower, Mukwano Arcade and Owino Market, Kalerwe, Bwaise, Mukono, and Entebbe.

Upcountry, the donation drive will be held at NSSF Branch Offices offices in Mbale, Mbarara, Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal, Jinja, Mukono, Kabale and Masaka as well as other high traffic areas in major towns.

Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General Uganda Red Cross Society said; “Uganda Red Cross through the MOH has the mandate of mobilizing Voluntary blood donors in Uganda. We appreciate corporate entities like NSSF that come one board to complement our efforts through mobilising customers and their stakeholders to appreciate such a humanitarian cause. Donating blood saves lives and is voluntary. We therefore appreciate the spirit behind this and pray that this grows beyond the one week blood drive to something bigger which we can do every other year”.

“Uganda Red Cross has a blood donor recruitment Strategy where we preach to the converted first (our volunteers and members) to donate and live by example. From there, other people join and appreciate the worth of life. With that, we stop relying on students and young people whom we always target while in schools. Our branch network across the country is well positioned and volunteers in communities do this very well as part of our community activities”.

“I want to call upon all people who fall under the age bracket of blood donors, and are in good health to heed to the call and see that we deal with blood shortages and save lives of vulnerable people who require blood transfusions. We are able and can meet the country blood targets, we just have to work hard and improve public perceptions and attitude towards donating blood,” he added.

Minister appoints new Board of directors for NSSF

By Deo Wasswa

The minister for Finance has appointed an 8 man team to serve as Board of directors of National social security fund for the next three years.

The board is chaired by Patrick Kaberenge who has been re-appointed in the same position. The other appointments include Pius Bigirimana, permanent secretary ministry of gender and Patrick Ocailap, the deputy permanent secretary ministry of finance as representative of government on the board. Florance Namata, general manager human resource at centenary bank has been also reappointed on the board representing employers.

The new appointees to the board are Bamwesigye Fred, the deputy managing director of civil aviation authority also representing employers and Dr. Isaac Magoola, the head of department business administration at Makerere University business school, also representing workers.

Speaking at the inauguration of the new board at NSSF head offices in Kampala, Minister Kasaija has noted that the appointment of the new board follows various consultations with key stakeholders and issuance of licenses to act as trustees by Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority(URBRA) in pursuant to section 40 and 41 of the URBRA act.

The minister asked the board to abide by the governing laws, specifically the NSSF Act and Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority Act (2011) as well as the internal policies and procedures.

The minister however clarified that the process to select a representative from the National organization of trade union(NOTU) is still ongoing.

” I have tasked NOTU to re- submit other nominees for consideration because their initial nominees did not make it through the vetting process. I’m confident that with NOTU’s cooperation, this process can be concluded soon.

Nonetheless, Pursuant to section 3 of the NSSF Act, the Board is constituted and authorized to conduct business on behalf of the Fund,” he said.

Kasaija told the new board that their mandate is to ensure that there is secure, profitable and effective financial management of the fund for the benefit of the workers in particular and the country at large.

“Your appointment comes at times when the fund is stable and performing exceptionally well. I therefore challenge you to provide the strategic direction needed to steer the fund to greater heights”, he said.

At the same event, Patrick Kaberenge the board chairman has noted that the focus of this new board shall focus on unlocking the value of real estate projects of pension towers, completion of the first phase of Lubowa project, Nsimbe and Temangalo developments as well as using the right technology for pension administration.

Jamwa’s bail ruling expected today

By Sania Babirye
The Supreme Court is this morning expected to rule on the bail application filed by the convicted and jailed former NSSF managing Director David Chandi Jamwa.
The date was  set by a single justice Stella Arach Amoko after concluding hearing of Jamawa’s application .
This comes after the  court  of appeal maintained the corruption and 14 year jail sentence that was handed to Jamwa by the anti corruption court in 2011 for causing government a 3.1 billion financial loss.
Jamwa  began his 14 year jail sentence in January this year after being out on bail for the past since years while challenging his conviction and sentence but appealed both anti corruption court and court of appeal decisions and also applied for bail.
Jamwa who has been represented by lawyers of AF Mpanga wants to be temporally released on five grounds including the fact that he has lodged an  appeal before the Supreme court challenging both his conviction  and sentence and that his appeal has high chances of success.
Jamwa further claims   that his health requires specialized medical attention and a balanced nutritional diet which he is unable to access while serving his sentence in Luzira prison.
Jamwa has stated that he will not violate any bail conditions as witnessed in his earlier bails granted by the two lower courts.
However ,  Prosecution has asked the supreme court to dismiss Jamwa’s bail application.
According to  state Attorney from the IGG’s office Rogers Kibobe, James was found guilty to offenses relating to economic loss
and he is no longer presumed innocent  to be legible for bail since he has not even  served five 5% of his sentence since  his conviction in 2011.
 Kinobe says Jamwa’s medical form only indicates that he suffers from  obesity and hypertension and does not indicate that the medical facility in Luzira prison  cannot handle his situation or does it recommend the him to external treatment.
Jamwa was found guilty of abusing his authority as NSSF MD when he  sold  -off pre-mature NSSF bonds to Crane Bank which occasioned a 3 .1 bn shillings loss to the fund.
However Jamwa who had  been out on bail since 2011 still maintains no loss was realised by the fund as he re-invested the money  from the sold bonds from which NSSF reaps profits.

NSSF hits the Ugx 100 billion mark in June 2017

By Wasswa Deo

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has collected more than Ugx 100 billion in contributions from its members in the month of June 2017, the Managing Director Richard Byarugaba has confirmed.

It is the first time that the Fund has hit the Ugx 100 billion mark in contributions in a single month. The previous highest mark was Ugx 85 billion that was collected in June 2016.

“This UGX100 billion plus contributions collection performance in a single month is the best ever in the history of the Fund. 2016/17 has been a challenging financial year, but we have come through with yet another collections milestone that is above our monthly collections target of Ugx 77 billion. I applaud all staff at the Fund for their tireless efforts,” he said.

Byarugaba added that he is optimistic the Fund will better last year’s overall financial performance, in spite of the challenges the economy faced in the just concluded financial year, which have had an effect on the business environment.

As a result, the Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development Matia Kasaija declared an interest rate of 12.3% interest, worth over Ugx 606 billion credited to NSSF members’ accounts.

Byarugaba could not confirm the new interest rate that the Fund will pay, but said that it will be declared by the Minister, in accordance with the NSSF Act.

The declaration by the Minister will happen possibly in September this year and will depend on how well the Fund has performed. However, he confirmed that the rate will not be less than the 10 year average rate of inflation plus 2 percentage points, which is in line with the FUND’s commitment to pay its members a real return.

NSSF invests in fixed income, real estate and equities. It is the largest institutional investor on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) and one of the largest domestic holders of Government of Uganda debt.

NSSF introduces the a voluntary membership plan

By Waswa Deo

The National Social Security Fund has unveiled a voluntary membership plan that will provide employees and workers that are not compelled by the mandatory provisions of NSSF Act the opportunity to voluntarily save for their retirement.

The fund has introduced a mobile money platform  through which it will receive voluntary savings.

Speaking at the launch, NSSF Managing director Richard Byarugaba noted that the fund is responding to the need of voluntary saving by many Ugandans as well as enhancing the funds growth strategy in terms of membership and contributions.

He noted that the voluntary saving plan is targeting the potential customer base of close to 2 million workers who do not have any form of social security cover out of about 4 million Ugandans working in formal sector.

NSSF launches real time customer transaction alert system

The National social security fund will from today start sending free real time customer transaction alerts upon receipt of social security contributions and payment of benefits.

This facility will empower both employers and employees to track of their transactions with the fund. This will  improve service delivery and ultimately, impact on compliance levels.

According to NSSF managing director , Richard Byarugaba, the member transaction alerts will compliment usage of the fund’s online whistle blower’s platforms where employees can covertly report their employers who default on their NSSF contribution.

The free real time customer transaction alerts system  was launched today the start 4th customer connect week.

Byarugaba  says  the activities lined up include donating medical equipment like beds, mattresses and others worth 200Million to four selected health facilities, free legal service and financial literacy

He adds, that the customer connect is a key initiative in Fund’s strategic plan and shows it’s commitment to excelling in service delivery to the fund’s member.

NSSF ,KCCA organize a run for a cause to renovate 2 Kampala schools

By Wasswa Deo

The National Social security Fund and Kampala Capital City Authority have launched the second edition of NSSF Hash Seven Hills Run aimed at raising 200 million to renovate Makerere University primary school and Summit Vienna Army primary school in Kampala to create better learning environment.

The run will take place on March 12th and will cover 22 kilometers while traversing seven historical hills in Kampala and these are Kibuli, Old Kampala, Namirembe, Ribaga, Lubiri, Nsambya and Nakasero.

Speaking at the launch, the executive director KCCA has noted that, they still need a lot of funds to effectively improve the infrastructure of the 79 public schools  in Kampala

Musisi says by the time was appointed the executive director, infrastructure in Kampala public schools was even worse to an extent that one toilet was serving 100 pupils.  “With efforts put in place the situation has changed and one toilet is now serving 50 pupils’’ she added.

Richard Byarugaba, the executive director, NSSF Richard Byarugaba says, this campaign will go far to support education of the underprivileged in the society.

A total of 65 million shillings was collected in the first edition of the run and went to the renovation of Nakivubo settlement primary schools and construction of a water facility at St. Ponsiano Kyamula primary school.

NSSF recovers 1.8Bn shillings through online whistle blowers page

By Wasswa Deo

The ongoing whistle-blower campaign by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has recovered over Shs1.8 billion .

Last month, the NSSF unveiled a new web-based whistle-blower platform for aggrieved employees to report employers who fail to remit their contributions to the Fund, as required by the law.

The Head Marketing and Communications, Barbra Teddy Arimi, says, up to 90% of the cases received were through the NSSF Whistle-blower platform, hence it is one of the Fund’s most effective tools to increase compliance levels and recover billions of employees’ contributions meant for their retirement.

According to her, more than 25,000 employers are meant to pay NSSF contributions. However, 12,000 of these are not complying and of the 13,000 who are complying, only 8,900 are consistently remitting NSSF contributions for their employees.

A total of 149 cases received over the last 4 months, January recorded the most cases at 55, followed by October (27).

She added that this is a continuous campaign, urging employees to continue being vigilant and speak out to ensure that their employers remit their savings to the Fund.