The managing director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Richard Byarugaba, has called on Ugandans to save, especially now that they are living longer lives.
Byarugaba, who was speaking at the third northern region members’ meeting in Lira on November 19, said saving with NSSF is the most sure way of being guaranteed a safe retirement.
“We introduced voluntary contribution so that people can save by themselves because we have done research and found out that it’s only 20 per cent of the population that have another form of investment or saving to help them when they retire. But maybe because of our history full of instabilities, we love to consume our money yet today we live longer. That’s why now only two per cent of our members die before accessing their money,” Byarugaba said.
He added that in the last year, NSSF registered a six per cent growth resulting from improvement in the economy, improved investment in infrastructure by government, which is a major borrower from NSSF, increase in foreign direct investment, reduction in inflation and the depreciation of the Uganda shilling.
Byarugaba said there has also been improvement in compliance by members because of continued engagements.
“We actively engaged our customers and our compliance improved by about 80 per cent in three months. We have also introduced SMS alerts and NSSF App so that employees report on their employers if they don’t see a message acknowledging receipt of their contribution,” Byarugaba said.
Previously, a member’s meeting would only be held in Kampala where members were told about the status of their money, how much has been collected, and which investment ventures have been invested in and what interest NSSF is giving to savers.
This year, NSSF announced that it was going to pay 15 per cent as interest to its savers. The fund also surpassed the Shs 1 trillion in income bringing its total deposits to Shs 9.4 trillion.
“It’s your responsibility to know what your money is doing; is it making for you money and where do you want us to invest it?” Byarugaba said.
Geoffrey Ssajjabi, the head of business at NSSF, said the Fund has 17 branches, 30 outreaches and four sub-branches across the country which their customers should contact for services.
He also called on employers to register and fully pay for their workers to avoid litigation. About 30 per cent of the two million NSSF contributors are from northern Uganda. Participants like Patrick Odongo asked why NSSF was only investing in projects like housing estates in Nsimbe and Temangalo in the central region while neglecting the north yet they are also contributors.
In allaying his fears, Byarugaba answered that when they lend money to government, it is used to build infrastructure like roads that are also in northern Uganda.