THE BITTER TRUTH: WHY NSSF’S BYARUGABA WON’T BE OUT SOON
By Mulengera Reporters
It has been confirmed by knowledgeable sources that the employment contract of NSSF MD or CEO Richard Byarugaba is ending late November but he will be eligible for retention for a number of reasons. Firstly the age requirement under the Fund’s Staff Manual, which makes it mandatory for anyone to quit at 60, can’t be used to catch Byarugaba because the recent amendments to the NSSF Act made it inoperative. The Manual now has to be subordinated the mother Act and will naturally have to be modified to reflect the new reality.
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Whereas the Manual had capped retirement at 60 years, the new law is silent on the upper age limit. It instead makes it mandatory for the CEO or MD to quit after doing 2 terms each of 5 years. Under the new legal order, the long-serving Byarugaba (who hasn’t exhibited any appetite to quit) is entitled to doing another 10 years implying he could stay up to 2032. See related reporting: https://mulengeranews.com/uncertainty-as-byarugabas-nssf-contract-expires/
Indeed, he is most likely going to apply for retention soon when the thing is opened up to be competed for and many in the NSSF Governing Board, which has the last word on the CEO job (since its strictly on their recommendation that the Gender Minister appoints) have expressed willingness to have him carry on.
Those favoring retention of status quo are already talking about implementation of the new law (which permits diversity of products NSSF can offer) requiring continuity and the experienced pair of hands which both Byarugaba and his Deputy Patrick Ayota represent. Chaired by eminent corporate leader Peter Kimbowa, the NSSF Board (meant to last three years) is relatively a new Board too just like the transition of the Fund’s policy leadership and overall administrative supervision from the Finance Ministry to that of Gender Labor & Social Development.
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Sometime back, the Board heeded rules of prudent management practice by going into what sources called ‘the bridging arrangement’ and extended DMD Patrick Ayota‘s tenure by one year implying he can now carry on up to late next year. The same will soon be proclaimed for the Managing Director, implying even in the unlikely case scenario that Gen Museveni decrees that he lives, Byarugaba will still head NSSF up to late next year 2023.
That one year extension, which the Peter Kimbowa-led Board is determined to grant him in order to circumvent leadership vacuum at the very top of NSSF, will commence November this year (three months away). That simply means he will at the very minimum remain MD/CEO up to end of next year.
We are further told that in the execution of their duo supervisory role and mandate over NSFF, the Ministries of Finance and Gender are fearful of the fact that, if not cautiously managed, top level management changes or transition at the Shs17trn NSSF can have disruptive effect to the entire Uganda economy into which they are big investors. For instance, NSSF invests big time in banks and the treasury bills market plus the real estate.
“You can’t rush that recruitment process, unless there is something very unusual and the President intervenes demanding urgent action. Its now a Shs17trn Fund expected to grow even more in the coming months and years. You need a CEO who isn’t only credible but also agreeable to all stakeholders including the government and workers. They each have concerns which you must listen to and all that consultative process takes time,” said a Finance Ministry source ruling out the possibility of Byarugaba being herded out of the NSSF job anytime soon.
The same source made reference to the proposed government campus (housing all GoU MDAs) at Bwebajja which, to the total appeasement of the President, the Byarugaba-led NSSF offered to pre-finance and gradually recover its investment from the government over the years. “So, to head such an organization someone serving as MD must be credible, tested and all stakeholders now realize that you need ample time to get that person,” said the same Finance Ministry source we anonymously spoke to for this article.
The recruitment of the substantive NSSF MD will most likely be outsourced to a consultant who is yet to be procured by the Board which is mandated to advise and guide the Minister of Gender on all processes leading to the recruitment of the CEO for Uganda’s National Social Security Fund. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).