Labour Union leaders and advocates for labour rights have praised the former Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), without going through a thorough recruitment process.
Kiwanuka’s decision to call for a clean up of the leadership of the fund started following reports that the Inspector General of Government was investigating allegations of abuse of office and improper recruitment.
But many union leaders in Uganda have hailed Byarugaba’s time at the fund, stating that the former MD brought stability to an NSSF that had been in a terrible state.
“He has done a good job, and extremely improved the governance of the fund,” said Wilson Owere, Chairman General of the Uganda National Organizations of Trade Unions (UNOTU).
Byarugaba took over leadership of the fund in 2010 succeeding the disgraced David Chandi Jamwa, who left amidst serious corruption allegations that later involving him and his then deputy Prof. George Kagonyera as well as the current Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Jamwa was convicted of mismanagement and causing financial loss to government as was sent to Luzira prison.
“He really brought back and rejuvenated NSSF from the bottom, and made it respectable again. He increased transparency in a firm that was full of secrecy” said Lillian Keene Mugerwa, who heads Platform for Labor Action (PLA), an NGO that advocates for labour rights for children and better conditions of workers.
One of his biggest accomplishments at the fund, many cite, is the Supreme court decision against ALCON the construction company, that helped to save workers from losing up to Ushs 40billion that had been awarded to the construction company by the court of appeal.
“He saved the workers over Ushs 40billion from vultures who wanted to take money that did not belong to them. In the past they had mismanagement in the fund, but he changed that,” Said Owere.
Byarugaba has expressed desire to reapply for the position, and Owere supports him. The NOTU boss says: “He should reapply for the job, so he can defend his record, and finish what he started. It will be interesting to see how transparent the Minister will be during the recruitment process”
The union leaders also lauded Byarugaba for getting the interest rates back to a manageable state for workers and for rejuvenating the fund despite the challenges of government borrowing from the fund as well as the liberalization of the nations pension scheme.