Africa-Press – Uganda. President Museveni yesterday asked workers and policy makers to further discuss the issue of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Amendment Bill 2020 which allowed savers to have midterm access to their money.
He said he needed to be sure that allowing access to 20 per cent of accumulated savings and interest by NSSF savers will not affect the percentages of interest that the body offers savers.
The President was speaking in light of the amendment Bill to the NSSF Act that Parliament passed and is before him for signing, which provides, among others, that savers, who clock 45 years and have saved for at least 10 years, access 20 per cent of their savings.
The law requires that employees contribute a mandatory five per cent of their salary to NSSF while the employers add 10 per cent per month.
The fund managers then invest the money, which attracts an interest that is shared equally among the members depending on the performance.
Mr Museveni, speaking at the function to mark International Labour Day at State House Entebbe yesterday, said accessing the savings midway would reduce the amount to be reinvested to grow it. He called upon workers bodies to meet and further discuss the implications of midterm access.
Mr Museveni was responding to requests from workers represented yesterday by Mr Sam Lyomoki, the Central Organisation of Free Trade Union (COFTU) chairman general.
“I was not sure of that debate. When I followed, I found the people who save put in very little. The employer puts in more money than the saver. Then NSSF invests this money on behalf of the saver. This money is not much of the savers’ money. It is more of the employer and the fund. The fund has invested this money for the saver,” Mr
Museveni said yesterday as they virtually commemorated the International Labour Day at State House.He added: “I want to invite everybody to come and have discussion with you. These people are quarreling over the money. Suppose we find if we agree on medium term access, then we will no longer be able to earn 10 per cent interest but five per cent? I have not heard anyone telling it to workers. People should know because you are reducing the money you are investing it will not bring you same interest. If we agree on that, that it has no problem, I have no problem.”
Mr Lyomoki had earlier asked the President to accept fixing a minimum wage for the workers and allow NSSF savers to get at least 20 per cent of their savings once they clock 45 years of age and have saved with the fund for 10 years.
Mr Lyomoki also called for a complete overhaul of the education curriculum to promote critical thinkers with innovative and creative skills for society’s changing problems.
While Mr Museveni agreed on the curriculum overhaul, he disagreed with the workers’ leaders on the proposal for better pay.
Mr Museveni reasoned that China was able to develop in 1978 because of low wages until recently when labour costs went up and firms shifted their investments to Uganda, among other countries.
“When labour costs in China started going up, factories have started coming here. Before coronavirus, factories were running out of China because salaries in China have now gone up. I am ready to discuss the issue of minimum wage. Let’s study this matter seriously,” Mr Museveni said.
The President further appealed to the stakeholders to support him to reduce the cost of electricity, transport and loan interests to improve production and consumption.
He said the markets are available if the quality of products are improved.