Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Workers’ MP Dr. Sam Lyomoki has said there are plans to sabotage the National Social Security (NSSF) amendment Bill 2019 that seeks to allow for midterm access to members savings.
The bill among other things proposes for midterm access for savers of 45 years and above or persons who have saved for at least 10 years among others. The advocates of the bill proposed a 20% access of each member’s savings which would total to up to 700 billion shillings.
Government’s initial proposal for the bill was to introduce new savings which would allow for voluntary savings and midterm access, taxing of benefits and issues related to the membership of the bill.
Lyomoki now says that there is a deliberate delay which is offending Parliamentary rules of procedure like the 45 days within which the committee can process a bill before it comes back to the house for debate and then passed.
The joint committee of the Ministry of Gender and Finance approved the midterm access and is subject to debate in the house.
Lyomoki who was addressed a press conference on Tuesday claims that the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, officials from the NSSF and the Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) are frustrating the process and want to defeat the bill.
He says that contrary to discussions which were supposed to take place, where the NSSF management would fall in either Finance or Gender, the meeting with the President including these officials and the committee instead discussed midterm access which was already approved by the committee.
The team that met the President agreed to continue discussing and researching midterm access. MPs from the joint committee of Gender and Finance met with the President last week where they disagreed on the access of the 20%.
Lyomoki whose attempt to attend a meeting last week with the committee as they met with the President at State House was foiled by his failure to get his test results. He says that his next move will be a protest in Parliament if the report is not discussed soon.
He says there are plans to have the bill defeated in Parliament and the entire midterm access debate stopped and he is planning a protest by camping in the chambers until the bill is discussed.
Lyomoki says that the President should not have pronounced himself on the bill which is still being discussed before Parliament.
However, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija denied the allegations. He says they are instead telling the president the truth that the funds are not supposed to be accessed during an emergency or for the short term but a retirement benefit which should help a saver when they are aged and out of work.
He however hinted that there is a proposal to have those who for midterm to save another percentage voluntarily that they can access.
The NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba said that he does not in any way influence proceedings in Parliament. He says that as NSSF, they only gave their views based on technical expertise and should be left out of politics.
“I do not work in Parliament and you cannot accuse me of trying to influence what is happening there. I am not an MP, they should be the ones looking at this issue”. He said on the phone.