President Museveni has signed the amended National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Bill into law, allowing workers who are over 45 years of age to access their savings.

Savers would previously wait till retirement or other special circumstances to access the funds.

The Deputy Press Secretary to the President, Mr Faruk Kirunda, confirmed the news.

“H.E Kaguta Museveni has assented to the National Social Security Fund (Amendment) Bill 2021. Congratulations to Parliament, savers and all stakeholders for their input in the process,” he announced on Tuesday, 04 January 2022.

Mr Wilson Usher Owere, the chairman general of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu), described the news as a New Year gift to the workers.

“Good news coming in is that; the President of Republic of Uganda His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has signed NSSF amendments Bill 2021 into law Congratulations the Workers Uganda thank your Excellency for that New Year gift to the workers of Uganda,” he said.

This comes two months after Parliament passed the National Social Security Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in November.

The House voted to amend Section 24A of the principal Act to allow workers who are 45 years and above and have saved for at least 10 years to have a midterm access of up to 20 per cent of their savings, whilst Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) who have saved with the Fund for more than 10 years can have access of up to 50 per cent of their accrued savings.

During the debate of the Bill, MPs agreed that only mandatory contributors are eligible for midterm access subject to their age and years of contribution, while voluntary contributors will have access to their savings as and when they so wish, subject to the prescribed regulations to be issued by the Minister in consultation with the Board.  

The new law under section 13A (7) furthers grants the Minister power to prescribe by regulations and in consultation with the Board, the procedure for making voluntary contributions and benefits.

“The law alone does not allow you to access these funds; we shall put up regulations and the board will determine terms and conditions. So, there will be administrative procedures to follow for those who are eligible for midterm access so that things are not done haphazardly,” Hon Betty Amongi, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development said.

On the supervisory role of NSSF, Parliament also voted that the Ministry of Gender takes the lead role in handling social security matters while Ministry of Finance’s role is limited to handling matters on finances and investments of the Fund. This has been one of the most contentious clauses in the Bill

The new law as passed also clipped the powers of the Managing Director by revoking his or her voting right as an ex-officio member of the board to avoid conflict of interest.

As passed, section 13 (A) of the new NSSF Act will also provide a tough deterrent penalty to employers who deduct a voluntary contribution and fail to remit to the fund. In accordance with the new law (as passed), an employer who offends this section will pay 20 per cent of the amount deducted but not remitted.

The Act of Parliament will now await to be assented to by the President in accordance with Article 91 of the Constitution