NSSF boss speaks out on the institution’s future
Posted Tuesday, July 24 2012 at 01:00
With the pension sector set for liberalisation in the near future, the Ugandan government has moved in to prepare the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for the battle ahead: competition. It started by appointing a man who has thrived in a competitive environment—Mr Richard Byarugaba, as the Fund’s managing director. A couple of weeks ago, the government made another statement by appointing a new board chairman who knows what it means to play in a competitive business environment. The new NSSF board Chairman, Mr Ivan Wambuzi Kyayonka, spoke to Prosper’s Ismail Musa Ladu about how he intends to steer the institution in his three-year tenure at the helm.
On the other hand it is in the interest of government that people who save have a good return and safe future when they retire and that is why the fund was established—by the government. And if this savings can be used in infrastructure development and it gives good returns then we have a win-win situation.
Has the one trillion shillings already been transferred to government accounts?
No. That is not true. The mechanism for lending for government infrastructure bond has not been set up. It is a proposal that was brought in the recent budget. Maybe the confusion is around the treasury bills that we already buy from government. And that has been there for so many years.
When will this deal begin?
When government floats infrastructure bonds, it will not only be targeting NSSF alone but also those with excess money. The only difference is that NSSF has a lot of excess money and we will be able to participate aggressively. But my hope is that it will be opened to everybody else.
What challenges do you anticipate?
The biggest challenge is adjusting to competition after years of monopoly. We need to change the mindset of the institution. People who work there must be able to appreciate that with liberalisation of the sector, employers and employees will choose where they want to save their money. We have to win the business because of performance and competence, and that is a real task.
Did this appointment come as a surprise?
Yes. I didn’t expect to chair the board, although I was already involved in advisory work with the Fund. But I was consulted before the decision to appoint me was made. The Minister (of Finance) consulted—you cannot just be appointed like that.
Who is Kyayonka?
I am an engineer by training and I have spent my life working in the downstream oil industry—both here and abroad.
I am a sportsman. I used to play cricket for many years, including playing for the Uganda team. I later become the Chairman of Uganda Cricket Association. And I am currently the trustee of the association and advisor.
I am also interested in advising young people about business —I like guiding them into entrepreneurship. I sit on several boards of Non-Government Organisations.
As a leader, you must be patient and empower people or else you will not get the result.
My strength lies in selecting the right people for particular tasks, then training, empowering and motivating them. I then show them the vision and the direction to take and then let them do it. So, all this is about building a shared vision for a group of people.
And if you sum it all, you could say my strength is being able to work through people.
The NSSF Numbers
5%: Percentage that the employer must deduct from the employee’s total gross monthly wage plus an additional 10 per cent of the total gross monthly wage to amount to a total monthly contribution of 15 per cent.
16 - 55: The age bracket of employees that NSSF covers with exception of employees under the Government Pension Act.
The new Board of Directors is composed of the following.
1. Mr Ivan Kyayonka, Chairman
2. Mr Chris M Kassami, Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Treasury, Min. of Finance, Member
3. Mrs Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Permanent Secretary, Min. of Gender, Labour & Social Development , Member
4. Mr Okello Musa, National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), Member
5. Mr Henry M Mukasa, National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), Member
6. Ms Agnes Kunihira, National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), Member
7. Mr Christopher Kahirita, Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU), Member
8. Mr Richard Bigirwa, Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU), Member
9. Mrs Sarah Walusimbi, Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE), Member
10.Richard Byarugaba, NSSF Managing Director, Member