First batch gets NSSF mid-term cash

NSSF members line up at Workers' House in Kampala to apply for the 20 per cent mid-term access of their savings on March 7, 2022. The mid-term cash is for people who have saved with the Fund for 10 years and are above 45 years of age. PHOTO/ STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

  •  Data from the Fund shows that 402 eligible contributors were paid Shs3.2 billion

Last Friday, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) made the first pay-out of the mid-term benefits to a section of claimants, ending years of anticipation since the idea was introduced.
 Data from the Fund shows that 402 eligible contributors were paid Shs3.2 billion.

 Mr Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director, said they had projected the first payment to be made on March 17, but decided to pay as soon as possible due to high number of successful applications, and the urgency with which the savers needed the money. 
 Many, battered by the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic and containment measures including a two-year lockdown, looked to the cash as a solution.
 In five days since applications started, 11,179 claimants successfully applied both online and physically. Of these, women are claiming Shs33.3 billion and men Shs69.9 billion.

 The total number of eligible members stands at 41,000, whose 20 percent benefits add up to Shs793 billion.
 The number fell by about 90,000 from the initial projections after the Fund cleaned the data to match the regulation by Minister of Gender, granting access to members, who are 45 or older and had made 120 contributions, as opposed to holding an account for 10 years as a section of the public had anticipated.  
 Mr Byarugaba said only 40 percent of the applicants are eligible. 

“Applicants applying online, even physically are requested to state when they would like to be paid. Some have chosen to be paid immediately and others have chosen to be paid in one or two months time,” he said.
 The Fund has expressed readiness to pay out Shs50 billion per week for the next five months. With an upgrade in the system, the Fund says they are able to process 800 applications daily.

NSSF amendment act

The NSSF Amendment Act, 2021 that grants access to mid-term benefits was first introduced in 2019. 
 MPs in the 10th Parliament introduced the clause to midterm access, which was not in the original Bill, arguing it made less sense for people’s money to sit in the Fund for future use, while many were struggling. 

 The Bill was passed in February 2021, but faced multiple hurdles. President Museveni declined to assent, and returned it for reconsideration.  It was later annulled by Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, along with others from the 10th Parliament. It was reintroduced in September  2021, and passed by the 11th Parliament on November 23 last year, and assented to on January 4.