Financially distressed savers with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have been demanding that the Fund pays them at least 20% of their savings to help them mitigate the negative effects if the Covid-19 pandemic.
Distressed savers have also argued that the Fund can guarantee their savings for them to access loans in commercial banks.
It is clear that NSSF is cognisant of the predicament that it’s savers are in.
NSSF would be very willing to help it’s savers with interventions aimed at alleviating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However,NSSF is tied by the law.
Section 19 of the NSSF Act says benefits shall be withdrawn under the following descriptions:-
b) withdrawal benefit
c) invalidity benefit
d) emigration grant
e) survivor’s benefit.
Therefore,it is clear from the above section of the NSSF Act that the Fund has no provision of giving 20% payments to distressed savers.
There is also no provision of the Fund issuing guarantees for savers to borrow from commercial banks.
Distressed savers can, however,lobby their MPs to persuade government, through the Finance Ministry,to amend the NSSF Act and allow such provisions.
Under section 25(h), the Minister has powers to make regulations providing for conversion of benefits into installments,anuiities or other forms of periodic payments.
That is another provision that savers can lobby Parliament to compel the Finance Ministry to look at in order to be helped during this pandemic.
NSSF is also wary of the negative effects such liquidity would cause to an already fragile economy.
Mitigation measures can be devised through Bank of Uganda and the Ministry of Finance.
It has also been unfortunate that some savers have used social media platforms to blackmail the NSSF leadership.
This is imprudent because it does not help the cause of the distressed savers.
What NSSF requires now is cooperation from all the stakeholders involved;the savers, Worker’s unions, Parliament and government.
With that cooperation,it is clear that a Win-Win way foward can be realised.