NSSF, be hard on government borrowing

Monday August 19 2019

 

By Percy Mulamba

The proposed new National Social Security Fund (NSSF) law promises to be more beneficial for both the workers and government as stated by the NSSF’s executive.

Indeed, all that seemingly looks appealing and flowery. Savings tax exemption, no double taxation, reduced tax burden, tax exemption chances and voluntary savings have been boldly highlighted by the NSSF management as benefits.

However, the management of NSSF is surprisingly silent on clause in the Bill that will allow the government to borrow money from the Fund. This issue is causing unrest among the savers with NSSF. We all know how poor government is at managing local debts and business in the country.

We have seen and read about suppliers of goods and services to government moving form one court to another seeking orders compelling government to pay their money. These businessmen have worn out their shoe heels or soles as they run up and down in the corridors of court and lawyers’ chambers. Many have lost their collateral securities and property to banks and the money lenders in the end.

The contributors to the Fund are worried that their money will be invested in shoddy enterprises that could hold the NSSF management captive by government.
We are in a country where people are shameless and would not hesitate to engage in acts of corruption. We cannot shy away from this fact.

The Bill also doesn’t tell us or suggest a mechanism through which final benefit payout tax is determined and its relation to prior levied tax. It is silent about accrued interest in circumstances of delayed payouts or if not such accrued but delayed interest income is tax exempt.

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NSSF should avoid lending government money directly. Can’t NSSF deal with government through fiscal instruments like Treasury bills or bonds?
The management of NSSF has succeeded in raising its bar high when it improved the customer care department of the Fund. Indeed NSSF has one of the best client-focused customer care departments.

Many service organisations have benchedmarked with NSSF on this issue and we do applaud NSSF for this. However, what held back the NSSF management from sensitising its clients about the forthcoming changes in the law? Was management ambushed with these changes or did they sleep on the job?

Where is the input of the workers unions and the savers? As a saver with NSSF, I have developed cold feet and cannot wait for the day I will access my savings, come June 2020.

Percy Mulamba,
pmulamba1970@gmail.com

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