In Summary

Saving workers money. The officials claim the delay to institute a new body will put people’s savings at risk.

Workers under the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union have given government a two-week ultimatum to institute a new National Social Security Fund (NSSF) board, or else they mobilise for the sacking of the Finance Minister.

The workers led by their re-elected chairperson, Mr Usher Wilson Owere, said a new board must be put in place because unscrupulous employers might exploit this gap to swindle workers’ savings.

“The term of the board expired on April 14 and government is reluctant to institute a new one. We have information that some unscrupulous business people are organising to steal workers’ savings because of the delay to have a new board but we shall not accept that,” Mr Owere said at the union’s General Assembly on Saturday.

What is NSSF?
NSSF is a semi-autonomous government agency responsible for the collection, safekeeping, responsible investment and distribution of retirement funds from employees of the private sector. Participation for both employers and employees is compulsory.

State Minister for the Elderly and Disabiled Sulaiman Madada, who presided over the event, said he will write to the Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka over the matter.

Mr Owere, who also doubles as chairperson National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu), said things are no longer transparent like it used to be when the board was in place, urging the finance Minister to appoint a new one immediately.

Efforts to speak to Ms Kiwanuka, whose ministry supervises the activities of NSSF, were fruitless as her known mobile telephone was switched off and so was her deputy Mr Fred Omach’s.

Workers MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara said the old board did a great job in its three–year term with no allegations of misusing workers’ savings because of its vigilance.

He said NSSF collects about Shs45 billion a month that can easily be misused in shady business deals because of absence of a board.

“NSSF makes transactions every day but no one is monitoring them. This is very dangerous and we don’t want to go back in those old days of misusing workers savings,” the MP said .

According to records, NSSF generates at least Sh1 billion each day as contribution from workers.

Currently, NSSF boasts of more than 9,000 employers registered with the Fund.

The number of account holders stands at over 450,000 members and monthly contribution collections hit Shs43 billion last month, indicating a 17 per cent increase from Shs36.6billion collected at the beginning of the financial year.

According to NSSF records, income from investments has also gone up in the last 10 months by 53 per cent from Shs16.4 billion to 25.1 billion.

NSSF has in the past been ridden with numerous investment scandals involving poor investment oversight and multiple conflict of interest issues. The most recent scandal involved the purchase of a piece of land in Temangalo in Wakiso District from Premier Amama Mbabazi without following the required tendering and bidding process.

In February 2009, President Museveni sacked the then minister of finance, Dr Ezra Suruma, and NSSF Managing Director David Chandi Jamwa, his deputy, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera were also relieved of their duties.

With the appointment of a new board of directors in 2009 and a new management team, the Fund has since recorded improvements in corporate governance.

Analysts say NSSF has since moved on to be a leading player in the country’s economy.

NSSF Membership: the old board members
Name Position
Vincent B Ssekkono Chairperson
Christine Guwatudde Kintu
Arinaitwe Rwakajara (resigned)
Martin Sseremba Kasekende
Jolly Aripa Kirabo
Christopher Kahirita
Richard Bigirwa
Romano Ojiambo Ochieng
Christopher Kassami