Pension sector prefect celebrate 10 years with call to avoid old age poverty

At least 85 per cent of older persons in rural areas live in chronic poverty. PHOTO/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • URBRA marks 10 year with celebration for improved regulation, effective scheme governance and prudential Investment 

Old age poverty is real. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to comprehend this fact. This is because older persons in Uganda are particularly vulnerable to chronic poverty as evidenced across the rural areas where most live or eventually end up.

Most often than not, they face economic constraints – approximately 85 per cent of active older people engage in crop farming which is insufficient to provide a regular, stable income, and have no social security, according to Uganda Social Protection Platform policy brief.

In addition, 85 per cent of older persons in rural areas live in chronic poverty. Older citizens also face challenges due to disability as 67 per cent of people above 60 have at least some difficulty in functional areas such as hearing or seeing among many other issues.

To avoid being part of the aforementioned statistics and enduring related complications, the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) launched its 10th anniversary celebrations with a call to all Ugandans to save for retirement and avoid old-age poverty.

This celebration comes at a time when the sector is basking in numerous milestones attained in a regulated and supervised context.

“Over the past 10 years, the sector has overcome most of the challenges that plagued it,” the URBRA CEO, Mr Martin Nsubuga told journalists in a news conference held at the pension sector regulator head office in Kampala. 

He continued: “The sector was unsupervised and unregulated, saddled by an ever-growing fiscal burden of pension liabilities, mismanagement of schemes, misappropriation of assets, poor investment decisions, loss of funds, embezzlement of member savings, and outright corruption.” 

The primary objective for establishing URBRA was to protect members’ funds; improve the scope and efficiency of the sector, with the ultimate goal of ensuring adequate, affordable, sustainable retirement benefits for all savers. 

And over the past ten years, URBRA has developed systems and capabilities to regulate and supervise the sector.

According to Mr Nsubuga, the strong supervisory regime introduced by URBRA, is the foundation for the current sector trends that have seen great improvements in scheme governance and prudential investment, which have resulted in the growth of sector assets from less than Shs4 trillion in 2014 to the current Shs19trillion. 

Giving back

As a way to appreciate the people it renders services to, URBRA’s tenth anniversary will kick off with a two-day health camp, scheduled for May 31 to June 1, 2022 at the Railway grounds in Kampala.

“The health camp is part of URBRA’s Corporate Social Responsibility and all health services will be free of charge. Services to be offered include: eye screening, tuberculosis awareness, COVID – 19 Vaccination and blood donation,” URBRA said in a statement.

“Later on July 07, the Authority will host a one-day public symposium, where stakeholders will converge to reflect on the sector’s journey over the past ten years and make recommendations for the sustainability of the gains so far attained,” the statement further noted.