Africa-Press – Uganda. Makerere University Council has resolved to withdraw 910 staff from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) after the Finance ministry approved the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS).
In 2018, NSSF sued Makerere University over non-remittance of monthly staff social security contributions. The Fund argued then that MURBS — to which the University made the mandatory 15 percent remittance for the vast bulk of its staff — was illegal.
However in June, Finance ministry officials approved MURBS as a superannuation scheme. It’s not clear why it took the ministry a protracted period to clear the Makerere savings scheme.
It is against this background that the University Council during its 153rd meeting — held on October 6 — resolved that the institution should effective July 1, 2021, start remitting all the staff benefits to MURBS.
“Pursuant to the Attorney General’s opinion, Makerere staff are no longer eligible to register and save with NSSF. Henceforth, Makerere University must remit the social security benefits of all staff to MURBS,” the University Council resolutions read in part.
The university secretary, Mr Yusuf Kiranda, yesterday confirmed the decision to withdraw from NSSF. According to Mr Kiranda, the university has asked staff who were initially saving with NSSF but wish to transfer their money to MURBS to do so through Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) going forward.
“Every staff is now going to start saving with MURBS and it is the choice of the staff who have been saving with NSSF to withdraw their money and save it by themselves, eat it or transfer it to MURBS,” he said.
Daily Monitor has established that the 2018 NSSF suit of non-remittance against Makerere University is still in court. We also understand that the university sought help from the ministry of Finance and URBRA to pursue an out-of-court settlement.
NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba yesterday clarified that the court case revolves around arrears the university is slated to remit to the Fund.
This was before MURBS was declared legal in June 2021. Mr Byarugaba added that NSSF had ascertained the Shs27b Makerere had to remit to NSSF from 2003 to 2008.
“The money we are demanding from Makerere University is the old money it had to remit to us. The university is free to save with their own scheme going forward,” Mr Byarugaba said in a telephone interview.
On his part, Mr Kiranda said: “Council has forwarded [the issue of remittances] to URBRA and NSSF.”
He added that “we are hopeful that the two entities will handle the matter in the best interest.”
Makerere University has, Mr Kiranda revealed, “been remitting all its statutory obligations either to NSSF or MURBS depending on our staff’s preferences.”
In an interview yesterday, the deputy chairperson of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Mr Edward Mwavu, said it is easier for university staff to easily access their benefits after retiring in MURBS than in NSSF.
He added: “With our MURBS scheme, we are not tossed up and down when we want to access our money after retiring. It can take one only two weeks to access his or her money after retiring or getting another job outside the university as opposed to NSSF.”
MURBS was established in April 2010. As of June 30, 2020, the Scheme had a membership of 3,777 with a fund value amounting to Shs209.6b.