Speaker Directs Minister Amongi to Present Report on NSSF

The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has directed the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development Betty Amongi to present a report to parliament on the ongoing developments in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). She issued the directive in her communication to the house during plenary on Wednesday afternoon.

Her directive comes amidst corruption allegations in the fund stemming from a letter authored by Amongi questioning the reappointment of the NSSF’s former Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba when his contract expired at the end of November 2022. 

The NSSF Board led by Dr. Peter Kimbowa had endorsed Byarugaba’s reappointment for another five-year term. As a result, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja asked Amongi to proceed with the appointment “as recommended by the Board to avoid any managerial gaps, which can put the workers’ funds at risk”.

However, Amongi protested the move and instead called for an investigation into the former MD’s conduct while at the fund. She accused him of among others abuse of office and mismanagement of investments. She directed that investigations be conducted within two months in line with a resolution by the Board of directors.

While appearing before the Finance Committee of parliament on Tuesday, Amongi declined to respond to any corruption allegations attributed to her against the management of NSSF.

It came after the Butambala County MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi tabled a letter purportedly authored by the Minister on December 7th, 2022 detailing gross corruption in NSSF, declining membership, and incompetence among others. According to the letter, Amongi directed the NSSF Board Chairperson to defer Byarugaba’s reappointment pending clarification on what she described as emerging issues.

She also claimed that a thorough examination of the Fund’s performance shows a decline over the last four years. She highlighted a declining trend from 32 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in June 2022. 

“My focus is a deeper analysis of actions of the management represented by the MD, which attempts to answer the question: Could the Fund have performed better if the MD had made different strategic decisions? This is critical because, over the next decade, the role of the Fund in the economic development of Uganda requires a different mindset change and different strategic direction. Can you clarify why the number of contributors has remained stagnant at 630,000 active members with about 690,000 dormant members? Why is the MD not embracing initiatives to scale up registration of more members?” Amongi wrote.

The letter also highlights allegations of financial impropriety in the Pension Tower project, collusion with the contractor, and kickbacks in the purchase of the MTN and Quality Chemicals shares by NSSF.  While responding to Among’s directive, Allan Mayanja, Nakaseke Central said that the current reports about NSSF are alarming and could discourage potential voluntary savers.

Ibrahim Ssemujju, the Kira Municipality MP, said that the invitation to the Minister of Gender is important and sought guidance from the Speaker regarding the manner in which the government is run. Ssemujju told parliament that one of Amongi’s letters to NSSF indicated that she had appeared before Gen. Salim Saleh in Kapeeka.

Among questioned Ssemujju whether his concern was part of her communication but the legislator said that he needed guidance on the matter. The Speaker said that she was not aware of Kapeeka since she has never been there and that her directive to Among is in line with NSSF.

Workers MP, Margaret Rwabushaija said that the Committee of Gender expected the Minister last week but she never showed up. 

The Government Chief Whip, Dennis Hamson Obua told parliament that he had relayed the Speaker’s directive and that the Minister affirmed that she would present a report to parliament on NSSF on Thursday as directed.

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