HERE IS HOW NSSF INTENDS TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR ASKARIS & PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS
By Mulengera Reporters
On its membership register, NSSF has 2.5m members of whom only 800,000 actively make monthly contributions equaling 15% of each’s monthly basic pay/salary.
NSSF Deputy MD Patrick Ayota says there is potential for the Fund to collect much more especially from among the non-salaried categories of Ugandans. Ayota asserts the NSSF teams need to do much more by way of sensitization and awareness creation. Much more savings can be mobilized under NSSF, he says, once more awareness is created among the citizens of Uganda.
Ayota used the Thursday media briefing meant to amplify stakeholders’ awareness and readiness for the Monday Annual General Meeting, which he co-addressed with his MD Richard Byarugaba, to reference on the 5,000 voluntary contributors (recruited between April and June) from whom Shs5bn contribution is currently being obtained per month. To him this is proof of the enormous potential this country has out there to mobilize savings. Ayota also referenced on another category/group, aged between 16 and 19 years, from whom Shs3bn worth of savings has been mobilized under the voluntary segment.
Ayota anticipates that the Fund will perform much better by more easily mobilizing a lot more in members’ savings once the long-awaited amendments in the NSSF Act are enacted by Parliament. For instance, by allowing the already existing savers wishing to contribute more than the current 15% to do so, the amendment will have supported the NSSF management to increase coverage and collect much more. Collecting more naturally would enable the NSSF management to invest more and thereby increasing return on investment for members.
The NSSF management is also looking forward to an amendment that will permit them more powers when it comes to enforcement and cracking the whip against companies/employers that breach their obligations by refusing to remit their employees’ 15% every month yet the same is deducted on a monthly basis.
NOT JUST WAITING
But as the Fund waits upon the legislature to do the needful, management has innovated cost-free ways and interventions to deepen compliance including working with the leadership of Uganda Police Force to compel companies involved in private security provision to pay up without being able to default anymore. Such companies are frequently accused of exploiting thousands of security guards, askaris and their other employees by deducting 15% off their monthly salary yet the same is never passed on to NSSF.
“We have created partnerships to increase compliance. The leadership of Uganda Police Force has agreed to require that as they seek annual renewal of their operating license, private security firms are required to produce their NSSF clearance certificate as proof they are remitting their employees’ monthly subscriptions to us as NSSF,” Ayota disclosed. Such steps will naturally increase the number of active contributors to NSSF whose membership register currently stands at 2.5m registered members of whom only 800,000 are actively making their monthly contributions. This is not even 50% of the eligible contributors!
Ayota says they are also working with the Ministry of Education to ensure its regulatory mandate is used to compel all private schools’ owners into becoming 100% compliant by frequently passing on their teachers’ mandatory 15% statutory contribution per month as is required of them under the NSSF Act. The MoES can make proof of NSSF statutory payments to be one of the requirements for license renewal or acquisition.
Yet that isn’t all. Ayota says they have equally reached out to professional bodies like Uganda Law Society (ULS) to ensure that wealthy employers like law firms are compelled to pay NSSF monthly contributions for their employees. The anticipation is that ULS can use its clout to liaise with Law Council (which licenses/regulates lawyers) to ensure non-compliant advocates are compelled to behave themselves and do the right thing before one’s Practicing Certificate (PC) is issued.
There is simply a lot Law Council can do including deregistration of defaulting law firms. Management anticipates that through such partnerships, NSSF contributions can go up which is very good and a win-win situation for both the employer and the employees who continue to be cheated by their bosses/employers who deduct every month but never pass on the money.
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