Trade unions accuse Finance of taking over NSSF

Monday November 11 2019
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Jinja City House – a modern retail and office complex constructed by National Social Secutity Fund. FILE PHOTO

Workers have protested a plot by the Finance ministry to entirely supervise the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Trade union leaders yesterday accused Finance ministry officials of misleading President Museveni to overturn the July 2019 guidance to have the Ministry of Gender play policy and compliance roles while Finance takes over investment.

“We have learnt that in the last Cabinet meeting of November 4, the members of Finance have misled the President that the guidance he gave in July was wrong for them. They want full control and they did not explain to the President that they are sitting on the time bomb of $2.5b debt of pension of civil servants,” Mr Milton Turyareeba, the chairperson of the General Assembly of the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions, told journalists in Kampala last week.

In July, the Cabinet chaired by President Museveni passed the principles to amend the NSSF Act of 1985 where the Ministry of Gender to be in charge of social security policy and compliance of NSSF and the Finance ministry take on investment.
Mr Turyareeba said the Finance move seeks to contradict their earlier position to deprive the workers of their savings.

“Members of the Ministry of Finance have cheated NSSF members since the Fund went into their hands. NSSF is paying Shs200b annually to Uganda Revenue Authority and Shs100b to the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority as a regulator, so the workers are now the ones financing this government and yet world, over government does not tax workers’ money,” he said.

Mr Usher Wilson Owere, the Notu chairman general, demanded Parliament to expeditiously pass the NSSF amendment 2019, and in interest of the workers before end of this month.
“Whoever wants to change this position, please workers of this country rise up for national strike, which we are going to call in December if the law is not passed as proposed. This is our money not the government’s,” Mr Owere said.

However, the Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Mr Jim Mugunga, said they are not aliens to the Fund because they also contribute to it.
“Governance in Uganda is run through democratic process with clear segregation of roles. Ours as bureaucrats is to plan and justify our policy proposals through a consultative process,” Mr Mugunga said.
“In this day and era, our belief at Finance is that various systems of governance should be allowed to function,” he said, adding that they are not in the business of issuing ultimatums.