First presented before Parliament in August 2019, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Amendment Bill, 2019 has generated controversy on issues regarding the mid-term access of funds, direct lending to government and whether the fund should revert to the ministry of Gender.
The process hit a snag when the finance committee allegedly cancelled the last meeting with Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya, a move which Gender committee chairperson Alex Ndeezi says proves lack of cooperation.
The committee comprising legislators from the Finance and Gender committees, is currently reviewing the Bill, which, among others, seeks to amend the NSSF Act, to change the taxation regime for social security contributions investment returns and benefits, introduce voluntary contributions over and above the standard contribution of five per cent and allows midterm access to voluntary contributions.
However, Ajedra says splitting the oversight of a large institution like NSSF is a recipe for disaster because it puts the fund at risk, saying this will create “a stalemate in decisions” and “supervisory loopholes.”
The ULS Treasurer, Aaron Besigye, said the proposal for government to borrow directly from NSSF is "inappropriate" because among other reasons, direct lending to government is outside the NSSF mandate and is a preserve of Bank of Uganda.
Mukwaya says the tax exemption provision caters for employer’s contributions and employee’s contributions below 30 percent of their income and investment income of NSSF. She also notes members benefits shall be taxed only during payment at 55 years while those who get paid at 60 years and above will not pay taxes on any benefit.
The Bill proposes 29 amendments with the aim of expanding social security coverage through mandatory contributions of all workers regardless of the size of the enterprise or number of workers. It is also seeks to establish a stakeholder board, provide for midterm access to voluntary contributions and enhance fines.