PHOTO: When NSSF officially launched online benefits claim on the NSSFGo App and web. Members who qualify for withdrawal of their savings can submit and track their claims without leaving the comfort of their homes!
NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
NATIONAL Social Security Fund (NSSF) Head Marketing and Corporate Affairs Ms. Arimi Barbra Teddy has responded to a 16 question dossier by a one Rogers Wandulu, who made rounds on social media alleging how unsafe are savings in NSSF.
In a three page response, Ms. Arimi tells Wandulu and all members of NSSF to worry not, their money is bery safe and growing!
Responding to Wandulu, Ms. Barbra Arimi has categorically stated that, “You and all our members remain at the centre of our strategy to ensure safety and a reasonable return for your savings. Every single day, every employee of the Fund works hard to create a better life for our members.”
“For this reason,” She says, “We have kept our promise to consistently pay you a return above the average 10-year inflation over the last 11 years.”
This is how Ms. Arimi has explained and gave Wandulu facts pertaining the 16 issues he raised in his dossier! Please read on;
- ● Wandulu alleged that over 80 NSSF staff enjoyed trip to Dubai. On this Barbra Arimi says, this was done in line with the Fund Human Resources Policy to drive high performance.
- ● That Board Chairman hired consultant at 60m to increase his pay to 30m. NSSF in its response says, the procurement was done by Management in line with the applicable PPDA processes. The engagement of a consultant was to enable the Fund to obtain an independent and informed opinion based on a comprehensive assessment of board remuneration terms for comparable entities locally and in the region. The Board Chairman’s compensation is way below the 30M you mention..
- ● His third allegation of low interest rate for members, Ms. Arimi said this is not true. “The Fund paid interest of 15% in 2017/18, 11% in 2018/19, 10.75% in 2019/20, 12.15% in 2020/21 and 9.65% in 2021/22. Compared to its peers in the region, this is the highest return any social security Fund gives, and very competitive.” Said Arimi adding thst, “Suffice to note, the Fund’s performance has even been complimented across the region.”
She noted that, as mentioned above, “We have kept our promise to consistently pay our members a return above the average
10-year inflation over the last 11 years.”
- ● On allegation that Staff were given as much as 1bn shs to exit voluntarily, NSSF boss says, Staff who lost their jobs during the recent restructuring process were compensated in line with standard labour practices. The required approvals for the exit packages were obtained.
- ● On the issue of MD making free donations in Billions, Ms. Arimi said the highest donation made by the Fund so far has been UGX 380M in 2020 towards Covid test kits in a bid to support the Government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ● About NSSF MD rescuing Uganda clays with 10bn, and turning into a written off debt, NSSF calls this a lie. This loan has not been written off. The Fund, a significant shareholder in Uganda Clays Limited, advanced a loan to the company to expand its operations and save it from collapse. The Board, and the then Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development approved the loan. Uganda Clays Limited has since turned around, is now profitable and the Fund is in the process of recovering the debt.
- ● Wandulu talked about the travel to purchase cards and machines worth Billions that won’t work. Resoinding to this issue, NSSF has said, in 2013, the Fund piloted a Smart Card project. The pilot did not achieve its objectives. Lessons from this pilot were used by the Fund to introduce a new Smart Card in partnership with Visa and Centenary Bank. The cost and integration of this new card project has been borne by the partners.
Members now have a new 3 in 1 Smart Card, which embeds NSSF functionality, bank functionality and a loyalty program which enables card holders to access discounts at select merchant outlets.
- ● Allegation eight, Wandulu said Fake trade unions are enjoying Billions in Budget. Here NSSF says, The Fund’s combined total donations to trade unions over the last 5 years does not add up to a billion shillings.
- ● On the issue of Heads of Department hiring /supervising relatives, Ms. Barbra Arimi categorically stated that, recruitment in the Fund is guided by the Human Resources Policy which is geared towards attracting competent workforce. There are clear provisions in the Policy on Conflict-of-Interest situations including recruitment of related parties which are observed during the recruitment process.
- ● Wandulu said Board meetings are held in Dubai and Nairobi. NSSF says, Board meetings are usually held in the country. The Board meeting held in Nairobi in 2022 was an exception. It was held alongside a full Board training session. The purpose of the joint scheduling was/is to efficiently utilize board members’ and other concerned stakeholders’ time. This is not an unusual practice for most boards.
- ● On the allegation of no accountability on donations/CSR, Ms. Arimi said Funds allocated to Corporate Social Responsibility activities like the refurbishment of public schools, national blood drives, sports, Career Expo, digital labs are fully accounted for and reports for the same are available.
- ● The raised issue of Billions given to staff in so called Early bird Exit, NSSF referred this to response no 4 above),
- ● That the Board is paid NSSF, Medical just like staff. Ms. Barbra Arimi says, The Board’s terms of engagement, including the medical benefit, are duly considered and approved by their appointing authority.
- ● Wandulu alleged that exiting Board members paid each 350m for time not worked. On this, NSSF boss clarified that the amount was a gross sum of UGX 312M each arrived at by the Board in consultation with its appointing authority at the time, for purposes of addressing a concern emanating from the Executive and Legislative arms of Government about the Board’s composition. The circumstances of this matter are being reviewed by the relevant authorities.
- ● On the issue of Investments not made in Savers interest, Houses members can’t afford, Ms. Arimi states that all Fund investments are made in the savers’ interest in line with the Fund’s prudent Investments Policy as approved by the Board and aligned to the investment guidelines of the Fund’s Regulator, the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority. “Furthermore, real estate is an asset class that the Fund primarily invests in to generate income either from rent or sale of the units, which income is credited to members’ accounts at the end of each financial year.” She said, adding that, “Suffice to note, the Fund’s various housing projects cater for all, from high income earners (Lubowa), middle income earners (Lubowa, Kyanja) and low-income earners (Temangalo). The house prices in Temangalo are projected to range from UGX 90M upon completion in 2024.”
- ● About Wandulu’s false prophesy that the Fund will collapse if it pays out Midterm access, NSSF says, “On midterm access, the Fund did not collapse when it paid out over UGX 636M to 27,934 qualifying members for midterm access in 2022. Savers now do not have to wait until 55 years to access their savings.”
In her conclusion, Head Marketing and Corporate Affairs Ms. Arimi Barbra Teddy reassured NSSF members how the team at NSSF, “Will remain committed to preserving your retirement savings.”
The National Social Security Fund Uganda is a multi-trillion Fund mandated by Government through the NSSF Act, as amended, to provide social security services to employees in the private sector.
The Fund is a secure, innovative, and dynamic social security provider that guarantees safety, security, and a competitive return on members’ savings of over 2% above the 10-year inflation average.
The Fund manages assets worth over UGX 17.8 trillion, invested in Fixed Income, Equities and Real Estate assets within the East Africa region. As the largest Fund in East Africa by value, we have the ambitious goal of growing our Assets Under Management to 20 trillion by 2025.
The Fund is regulated by the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority while the Minister of Gender, Labour & Social Development, and the Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development are responsible for policy oversight.
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