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.
A joint committee that is scrutinizing
the National Social Security Fund Amendment Bill is stuck following a disagreement between Henry Musasizi, the chairperson of the Finance Committee
and his Gender counterpart Alex Ndeezi.
The Bill seeks to, among others, expand
social security coverage and benefits through enforcing mandatory contributions
for all workers in the formal and informal sectors, provide for midterm access to
benefits and taxing of benefits for savers who withdraw their savings before
attaining 60-years, among others.
which was first presented to parliament in August was first sent to the Gender committee
for scrutiny. But owing to its contents, which include financial and social
security policy matters, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed the
two committee to form work together, to process the Bill.
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.
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However, Musasizi says that the
joint committee was in the process of drafting a report when the Gender team pulled
out of the process and demanded extra time to consider the Bill. Musasizi and Ndeezi say they are now stuck on
how to proceed.
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Controversy on the draft was also
sparked off by a suggestion to return the fund, with a capital of about 11
trillion Shillings, to the Ministry of Finance, from Gender where it has been
managed in recent years.
In October, President Yoweri Museveni
wrote to Kadaga to clarify on which government agency should supervise NSSF. In
the letter, dated October 4, 2019, Museveni objected to the provision that the Ministry
of Finance will oversee finance matters of the fund while the Ministry of
Gender will handle policy issues.
He advised that the Ministry of
Finance should have sole oversight over NSSF, adding that this should be streamlined
by Parliament as it processes the Bill. According to Museveni, the split
oversight mandate of would cause delays in decision making and create loopholes
Museveni cites the Finance
ministry’s specialized mandate to oversee the management of such funds and its
capacity to review NSSF decisions and ensure that they are sound business-wise.
According to Musasizi, the majority of the finance committee members support
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But several other MPs’ a sizeable
majority of them from the Gender committee objected to the suggestion. They
argue that the Ministry of Finance will influence decisions of the fund and manipulate
its systems so that the government can have direct access to workers' savings.
The Chairman General of National Organizations
of Trade Unions-NOTU, Usher Wilson Owere also opposes Museveni's view. On December 3, 2019, Owere wrote to the
president stating that dual supervision of NSSF will create a good balance for
the good of the Fund.