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Government workers and pensioners have called for the
digitization of the pension scheme to ease access to their funds. A number of civil
servants and pensioners interviewed by our reporter say the pension sector in
the country is very slow largely because of the myriad of different
stakeholders involved and lack of proper legislation to guide the sector.
William Bateganya, a civil servant at Makerere University,
says there is no proper representation and advocacy for pension schemes in the
country. He several workers don’t enroll on the pension payroll on time and
it’s only recently that some employees have started taking proactive steps to
secure their retirement with minimal challenges.
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Christine Senabulya retired in 2016 after working with
government for 32 years as a teacher. She was immediately removed from the
government payroll but wasn’t enrolled onto the pension payroll. It took her
four years to get money on her account.
According to Senabulya, the process of enrolling for pension
is very tiresome because of the documentation involved, which she says would be
eased by digitizing the system.
Godwin Beinomugisha, another pensioner wonders why no steps
have been taken to digitize the sectors in an era where people order for
groceries online, invest and offload millions in cryptocurrency at the click
of a button. “This ‘consumer-centric’ approach is percolating every aspect of
the employee’s experience, even those in retirement,” he said.
He wants politicians to voice the challenges pensioners go
through to stop them from struggling to get their benefits.
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Catherine Bitarakwate, the Public Ministry Permanent Secretary, says a bill to
guide the digitization of pension schemes and more is already before parliament.
She says Uganda has about 320,000 civil servants, who will be included on the new
Hassan Nakabale, the Director of Communications and Public
Affairs at Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), faults
parliament for delaying the approval of the bill meant to provide for
digitizing of pension payment and enrollment in Uganda. The Bill was approved by
parliament in July 2020.