Gender Committee chairperson Flavia Kabahenda on the floor of Parliament.

Lawmakers on Parliament’s Gender, Labour and Social Development Committee have recommended that the Gender Ministry be responsible for the supervision of NSSF.

President Museveni had advised that NSSF be supervised by the Ministry of Finance.

But the chairperson of the committee, Ms Flavia Kabahenda (Kyegegwa Woman – NRM) said the Ministry of Finance is ably represented on the NSSF board and the benefits of the entire retirement sector, and there is no need to have them manage the fund.

While making a presentation on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, Ms Kabahenda said that the committee is confident that the fund will continue to grow even when placed under the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development.

The committee also rejected the proposal to have the managing director of NSSF sit on the board of NSSF with voting rights. They proposed that the managing director should remain an ex-officio member of the board.

“The committee is concerned that giving the managing director a right to vote will create a fertile ground for conflict of interest, for he or she would be part of the organ that recommends for his/her appointment and to which he or she accounts,” Ms Kabahenda said.

The committee has also upheld the proposal to have the law come into force within 60 days of the publication of the Act in the gazette except for a section on midterm access which will come into force on a day to be agreed by the minister by a statutory instrument on the advice of the board.

The committee welcomed the provision for voluntary contributions saying it is an avenue to increase social security coverage and promote a savings culture.

However, they rejected the proposal to have NSSF recover money from third parties, saying engaging defaulting employers will expose workers savings to endless protracted court battles which may be costly.

It approved the 20 percent midterm access for savers who are 45 years old and have saved for 10 years. However, the committee says that this means a saver could be given less than the 20% depending on the availability of funds. The committee states that there needs to be an instrument to manage this.

“The committee further notes that the proposal gives the minister discretion to provide for mid-term access to eligible members, a sum not exceeding 20% of a member’s benefits. This discretion allows the minister to provide a sum less than 20%.” the report reads.

On access for persons with disabilities, the committee has approved 50 percent midterm access for persons with disabilities aged 40 years who have saved for at least seven years.

The committee also deleted the clause that restricts the number of times a member can be paid their age benefit saying it is unfair for members.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among suspended the debate on the report for members to internalize and read the report before it can go for the third reading.

Among said most of the MPs in Parliament were new and therefore need to understand the proposals before the debate.