By Mulengera Reporters
Workers’ Member of Parliament, Arinaitwe Rwakajara has been granted leave by Parliament to introduce the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill.
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The Bill seeks to amend the Parliamentary Pensions Act, 2007 which establishes a retirement benefits scheme for Members of Parliament and Staff of the Parliamentary Commission. The law also establishes the Parliamentary Pensions Fund for the payment of retirement benefits to its members.
In his statement during the Tuesday afternoon sitting, Rwakajara said that the Act does not take into consideration new developments in the retirement benefits industry and the implementation of some of the provisions in the Act has posed challenges to the operations of the scheme as well as hampering the effective operations of the scheme.
“For example the process of obtaining a recommendation from the Uganda Medical Board is quite lengthy and cumbersome, thereby delaying access to funds for medical treatment and retirement on medical grounds. The Act does not provide for a voluntary contribution for additional benefits for example health care,” said Rwakajara in part.
He added that the rate of the contribution made by members also needs to be reviewed and that the distribution of survivors’ benefits as recognized by law on succession in most cases conflicts with the member’s nomination, especially in cases where the nominee is neither a spouse nor a dependent.
Rwakajara explained that the amendment of the Act is a requisite to promote good governance and efficiency in the operations of the scheme.
Akol Anthony, the Kilak North MP seconded Rwakajara’s motion seeking parliament leave. He said that there are a lot of loopholes in the Act that continue to pose challenges in its implementation. Akol appealed to MPs to support the proposed amendments since it touches their lives after serving in parliament.
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Prossy Akampulira, the Rubanda Woman MP emphasized that the proposed Bill will cure challenges in the administration and operation of the scheme especially the utilization of credit to obtain treatment abroad.
Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service said that he agrees with the Bill in principle and that his Ministry had also planned to come before the House to ensure that a Bill of a similar nature is moved.
He proposed that the private Member discusses and harmonizes with the Ministry regarding the different contradictions and come up with a Bill that covers all loopholes. Following his submission, Parliament chaired by Speaker Anita Among approved the motion seeking leave for the MP to introduce the Bill-URN. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us email@example.com).