Only 3.1 million Ugandans formally save for retirement 

Saving for retirement is alien to the majority of Ugandans. Photo / File  

What you need to know:

  • The majority of members who save for retirement belong to mandatory saving schemes  

State Minister for Finance and Planning Amos Lugolobi has said ‘saving for retirement is a patriotic deed’, given its importance in improving livelihoods and the larger economy. 

Speaking during the release of the 10th Annual Retirement Benefits Sector Report 2023 in Kampala yesterday, Mr Lugolobi said retirement savings contribute 60 percent of Uganda’s gross savings and account for 11.5 percent of the gross domestic product, noting that savings for retirement contribute significantly to national development by making money available for government to borrow through bonds, treasury bills and securities.

“Additionally, schemes paid up to Shs235b to government in taxes in 2023, up from Shs227b in 2022. Saving for retirement is a patriotic deed,” he said, noting that during 2023, 79 percent of retirement savings funds were invested in government securities in a period in which the pension sector assets expanded by 10 percent.

During 2023, the report, by Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) , indicates that pension sector assets expanded by Shs2 trillion, increasing from Shs20 trillion in 2022 to Shs22 trillion, while  savers grew slightly by 126,504 members from 3,015,807 to 3,142,311.

Of the 3,142,311, only 298 were voluntary savers, which grew from 273 in 2022. 

Majority of savers are members of mandatory schemes such as the National Social Security Fund. 

URBRA noted that the pension sector continued to be resilient despite a drop in average return on member balances, posting an increase in total assets from Shs20 trillion to Shs22 trillion. 

During the period, fixed income remained relatively stable, growing to Shs2.4 trillion from Shs1.9 trillion, but the growth was offset by an unrealised loss of Shs1.2 trillion, arising from foreign exchange losses and equity price declines, due to a drop in all regional equity indices, with the biggest decline of 14 percent registered on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, which carries the largest exposure of Uganda’s pension sector investments of about Shs1.2 trillion. 

Mr Lugolobi also indicated that URBRA had recovered Shs26b due to improved efficiency in supervision, noting that this should build more confidence among savers of its improved supervision capacity.  

Mr Martin Nsubuga, the URBRA chief executive officer, said the retirement sector remained resilient despite a drop in average return on member balances in 2023.