15 million Ugandans have no savings to retire to 

Whereas there are Ugandans who can afford to save for retirement, many of them are not within the pension bracket. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Only three million Ugandans, or slightly above, save for retirement, which leaves more than 15 million people uncovered

Only three million Ugandans, out of a possible 18 million workers save for retirement, according to the Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA). 

Speaking at the unveiling of a study for the creation of a National Long-Term Saving Scheme, Mr Martin Nsubuga, the URBRA chief executive officer, said only three million Ugandans save for retirement, which leaves more than 15 million people uncovered.

This, he said, exposes the majority of Ugandans to different vulnerabilities, many of whom formally retire between 55 and 60 years. 

Mr Nsubuga also indicated that whereas there are several Ugandans who can save for retirement, there is no sufficient arrangement around which such people can be organised to save.    

“There is a known [eight million] that can save but are not being reached out to. From the study we found that saving sometimes has to be forced. But we also need incentives for people to save and that has to be worked on,” he said, noting that the National Long-Term Saving Scheme, if passed, will work alongside existing schemes such as NSSF, with the National Longterm Saving Scheme, largely targeting the informal sector but also additional savings for people. 

“We look at the new and current population, we believe this will enhance savings- we won’t force people to save but we will leverage on incentives to attract people,” Mr Nsubuga said.”

URBRA is currently working on modalities of how a National Long-Term Saving Scheme can be established with the view of bringing more than 15 million people into the retirement benefits saving bracket.

Not involved

Speaking at the same event in Kampala yesterday, Finance State Minister Amos Lugoloobi, said government, through URBRA had sought support from Financial Sector Deepening Uganda to conduct a feasibility study, which found that most Ugandans are not involved in any form of saving for retirement.

“An estimated eight million self-employed workers are not saving for retirement though they would afford it if they chose to. They could be saving for other purposes but not retirement,” he said, noting that more than five million are excluded from saving because they cannot afford it. 

“We have many people whose salaries are uncertain; it is projected that by 2050, Uganda will have 5.5 million elderly people and 4.7 million of these will not have pensions,” he said.

Mr Patrick Oketa, the Financial Sector Deepening Uganda executive director, said the FinScope 2023 study, which will be launched later this year, had found that at least 60 percent of Ugandans save but the challenge is majority of them, which represents 55 percent, save informally.