BY SALIM KALANZI
President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Bill, 2021, putting to rest a protracted battle between activists in the workers’ movement, and the Presidency that contested several clauses originally passed by the 10th Parliament.
The Senior Press Secretary Lindah Nabusayi confirmed the development in a brief statement.
A key provision in the NSSF (Amendment) Bill, 2021 will grant members aged 45 and above and who have saved for at least a decade, midterm access to 20% of their savings.
Parliament in November last year and passed the NSSF (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“The biggest problem was that they (NSSF) never wanted this money to be accessed by workers and that was going to bring a lot of confusion among the people because they (people) had lost confidence in government and NSSF,” Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairman General of National Organization Of Trade Union(NOTU).
“We fought hard to make sure NSSF is not liberalised and that is why we came up with this idea (mid-term access) it was never about COVID-19. COVID-19 just helped us lobby and promote it.”
The NSSF Bill that was first passed by the 10th Parliament on February 17, 2021, before it was returned to the House by President Museveni, seeks to among others allow mid-term access of up to 20% to members who have reached the age of 45 years and above and also seeks to streamline the supervision of the sh15 trillion NSSF Fund.
Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director at NSSF says the fund will have to set aside sh1 trillion to pay off those who qualify to access their savings.
Additionally, NSSF will also have to set aside sh900 billion to pay benefits of close to 26,000 savers who will retire in this financial year 2021/2022.
The 10th Parliament had voted that the Ministry of Finance retains the supervisory role of the Fund following the President’s rejection of dual supervision saying it was causing delays in decision making.
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Earlier, Parliament reached consensus on which ministry will supervise the operations and activities of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
There has been a big contestation on whether the supervisory role of NSSF funds should be under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development or remain under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development under the new NSSF (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which is currently before Parliament.