SPEAKER OULANYAH RELIEVED AS PARLIAMENT FINALLY PASSES NSSF BILL
By Joel Mugabi
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has breathed a sigh of relief today after the House passed the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Amendment Bill, 2021.
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The NSSF Bill had been passed in February 2021 in the Rebecca Kadaga-led 10th Parliament but President Museveni declined to assent to it over some of its contentious clauses.
Speaker Oulanyah would later declare the bill lapsed, ordering its reintroduction. After the reintroduced bill’s consideration by the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, whose chairperson is Kyegegwa District Woman MP Flavia Kabahenda, it was the whole House’s turn to debate and scrutinize the piece of legislation clause-by-clause.
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Yesterday, Parliament handled the issue of supervision of the Shs15tn Fund, handing Betty Amongi’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) the lead supervisory role, and restricting Matia Kasaija’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) to finance and investment matters – which, as Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda put it, is what really matters.
MPs then convened Wednesday morning to continue with the clause-by-clause scrutiny of the bill. The legislators passed clauses on midterm access, which will make it possible for NSSF members who are aged 40 and have been saving with the Fund for a full decade to apply and receive a sum of 20 per cent of their accrued benefits.
Also key in the passed bill is the issue of penalties meant for employers who refuse to remit their workers’ contributions to the NSSF. The issue had been stood over on Tuesday.
When it came up for consideration today, the House resolved that any employer who fails to remit employees’ contributions shall pay a penalty equivalent to 20 per cent of the amount not remitted. Such an employer will also be required to remit to the fund any outstanding contribution and accrued interest at the prevailing commercial rate.
After being passed by the House, the bill’s fate now lies in the hands of the President whose assent will make the piece of legislation operational. After the bill was passed, Speaker Oulanyah said he was relieved, and glad that workers could now access part of their savings.
“Today, I will breathe. I have been getting [several] phone calls from the workers of this country,” said the Speaker. “Parliament has delivered on the bill and the workers can now have mid term access of 20 per cent of their savings.” (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).