MP wants Amongi letter to NSSF tabled

Gender, Labour and Social Development minister Betty Amongi addresses the media after appearing before the Finance committee at Parliament on January 18, 2023. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  •  It said the Shs17 trillion Fund has a role to play in “national transformation”, including creating jobs, as well as acting as a bridge between farmers and markets.

Drama ensued on Tuesday at Parliament as legislators on the House Committee on Finance swapped barbs over the goings-on at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Mr Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the shadow Finance minister, stirred a hornet’s nest when he referenced a letter purported to have been written by Ms Betty Amongi—the Gender, Labour and Social Development minister.

“With me is a letter that was written on December 7, 2022, by the minister who is supervising [NSSF], detailing how horrible the situation is in [the Fund],” he said, adding that the letter detailed ills such as “declining members’ savings … gross corruption [and] gross incompetence.” 

The Butambala MP sought to table the letter, reasoning that “it gives a true picture of what is in NSSF.”

Ms Amongi was quick to distance herself from the said letter, adding that besides not knowing its source, she agreed to appear before the parliamentary committee to “present micro-economic issues.” 

“This is what we have come to deal with in this committee,” she said, adding, “If there is any other issue, chair[person], I beg that you again write to us and then we can respond together with the other issues.”

Mr Keefa Kiwanuka, the committee chairperson, agreed with the Labour minister that the contents of the letter had not been verified.

“We need as a committee to take note of the letter and probably have an internal meeting over this to discuss it and even verify its authenticity,” Mr Kiwanuka said, 

He added: “So we have to determine and probably even take the technical advice as to whether this is something in our responsibility before we can start having a discussion.”

Mr Kivumbi held his ground, insisting that the letter was not only “authentic” but also “touches all [pertinent] matters.” 

When Mr Kiwanuka didn’t budge on his decision, the shadow Finance minister stormed out of the session in protest.

“Now that you ruled that we proceed on the basis of being here to discuss in full honesty, in my humble capacity, I have no business engaging in a discussion that is not based on truth,” he offered, adding, “I beg, with due respect, I have never done this in my political life. I have been here, but I beg to leave this meeting in protest.”

The letter

In a side interview with this publication, Mr Kivumbi vowed to compel the committee leadership to reconvene to thoroughly discuss the letter.

Among other things, the 19-page letter was persistent in its urging the Fund to play “a role of supporting NDP III (National Development Programme Three).”

 It said the Shs17 trillion Fund has a role to play in “national transformation”, including creating jobs, as well as acting as a bridge between farmers and markets.


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