PHOTO: From left; Barbra Arimi, Dr. Kimbowa, MD Ayota and Mr. Ssenyonjo
NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
The Parliament Select Committee report on status of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) found no evidence that member funds were stolen or misused by the Board or Management.
Announcing the Fund’s response to the Parliament report for the first time, NSSF Board Chairman Dr. Peter Kimbowa commonly known as Dr. PK told media at Workers House in Kampala today Monday, March 13, 2023, that the absence of any such evidence is also an affirmation that members’ savings can be trusted with the Fund.
“First of all, we applaud the Committee; it is not easy to investigate an entity of our size and complexity over a 20-year period in 2 to 3 weeks, but they were able to do so. We, therefore, like to register our appreciation for the rigorous and robust probe.”
He however revealed to the media that, from the report, there is neither evidence nor conclusion that any individual at the Fund had stolen member funds, despite the numerous allegations in the media purporting bribery and mismanagement of Funds.
“In effect, the committee report brings to light the fact that the famous UGX 6Bn was never disbursed, nor was the UGX 1.8Bn shared among board members. The work plans had not been approaved by the Board.” Said Dr. Kimbowa.
He noted that, “The current NSSF Board has not and will not compromise our fiduciary duty to all NSSF members to ensure prudent and profitable management of the Fund.”
On March 01, 2023, the Committee Chairman Hon. Mwine Mpaka presented the report to Parliament whose recommendations were adopted last week on March 09, 2023. The Committee had earlier been selected by the Speaker of Parliament to investigate the alleged mismanagement of N9iiSSF.
Dr. Kimbowa added that the Fund only refrained from responding to the report to enable the Parliamentary process to take its course, but that, should in no way be construde to mean that the Fund agrees with all the contents and conclusions of the report.
“In some instances, we find the report devoid of important context and contains inaccuracies, especially regarding investments. For instance, the Fund has a total of 210 investments, however, only one, the West Nile Golf Club, has lost value. In our opinion, the fact that the Committee had to go back almost two decades to find one investment that has lost value shows that the Fund has had a stellar performance over the years.” Revealed Dr. Peter Kimbowa.
Patrick Micheal Ayota, the Acting Managing Director NSSF also said that whereas the report highlights areas where the Fund must improve, the Committee did not consider the context or information provided in many instances.
Before any funds are committed, Ayota said, the user department must provide justification for the procurement process to commence or satisfy the Accounting Officer, among others, of the value for money. Just because an item appears on the budget does not mean the money has to be spent.
“Because of this, the Committee assumed that budgeting means spending at the Fund, which is far from the truth. Budgets are plans that are informed by market assessments.” He informed public.
Ag MD noted that, “Our investment philosophy is guided by the investment Policy and Guidlines, as well as the URBRA Investment Guidelines. One key component is the principle of diversification is a realization that not all investments will perform well all the time.”
Therefore, Ag. MD Ayota said, any fund’s investment performance must therefore be analyzed in terms of the entire portfolio, rather than cherry-picking as the committee did. An analysis of the Fund’s investment portfolio over the last 12 years shows consistent growth of the assets and a competitive return.
He also pointed out that the Fund noted instances where the committee appears to not have considered the facts availed by the Fund.
For example, the issue of onboarding of Geomapping technology to help the Fund easily trace employers. We cearly demonstrated that the technology is fully operational and there is value for money.
Other areas where the committee did not consider facts include payment of perfomance bonus, Corporate Social Responsibility, penalty waivers and legacy investments like West Nile Golf Club and Workers House land title.
Ayota saidthat the committee agreed that the facts about the Fund’s performance are indisputable and assured NSSF members and the public of the Board and Management’s commitment to ensuring the security and safety of members’ savings.
NSSF’S DECADE OF GROWTH: FACTS & FIGURES
● The Fund’s Assets Under Management have increased from UGX 1.7 Trillion to UGX 18 Trillion in just 12 years.
● NSSF is the only noteworthy mobiliser of large pool of a long-term domestic8 capital for development funding which has enabled the Government to become less reliant on foreign capital.
● NSSF has consistently grown the value of members’ savings by paying a real return, better than other peers in the region.
● NSSF has the lowest cost of adminitration at 1.17% , not among peers in the region but better than the gobal benchmark of 2.20%
● Through efficient systems, the Fund pays all qualifying members their benefits when they are due in just 7 days on average.
The press briefing was conducted by Ms. Barbra Arimi, Head Marketing and Corporate Affairs. Other officials present were Mr. Edward Ssenyonjo the Chief risk officer, Agnes corporate secretary and Milton Owol Head Human Resource.
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