Workers representatives have added fuel to the fire in the campaign to have the long debated amendments to the NSSF Act passed.
The new sense of urgency comes in the wake of revelations by the NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba indicating that the Fund does not have resources to allow for mid term access – or giving savers part of their savings before they reach retirement age.
Recently, Byarugaba made a U-turn by saying NSSF does not have money for midterm access. This has infuriated members who only a month ago had celebrated the comments of the NSSF Board Chairman Patrick Kaberenge, during the annual assembly.
Kaberenge told the country that the fund has the resources to meet mid-term access to savings by members.
There’s an apparent disagreement between the board and the government over midterm access which is why parliament is delaying to pass the amendment.
Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairman of the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU), they are not willing to be shortchanged and have vowed to demand for quick passage of the amendment with favourable provisions.
He said in a statement this week that:
“After hearing blame games from the Parliament, the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, and the committees handling the amendments of the NSSF Act in Parliament, workers are in serious consultations and have resolved to take action in case the Parliament fails to pass this Act into Law this week,” he said.
Owere appealed to all concerned authorities who include parliament, Minister of Labour, Chairperson Gender Labour and Social Development Committee among others to avoid delaying tactics and expedite the emendation process where he said continued delay cites unfairness amongst workers.
“We are aware 29 clause have already been approved by Parliament and what is remaining is just two clauses that can take only 30 minutes for the whole bill to be passed into law, why the delaying tactics!, he revealed.
Owere hailed Speaker Kadaga for the tremendous efforts of reaching the Act at its current stage with appeals to ministers and parliamentary representatives to also act accordingly other than playing delay games in amending the Act.
“Workers appreciate the efforts put in by the Rt. Hon. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, but we want to see Government Ministers and Members of Parliament doing the same,” Owere said.
“Savers expect that their savings should work hard for them just like they work hard to make that monthly saving,” he added.
Owere expressed disappointment in Byarugaba’s change of mind to walk back his promise on midterm access.
“Now that the amendment of the Act is in its final/ advanced stages, Byarugaba is now speaking a different narrative, at the same time, contradicting his earlier position,” said Owere.
He said: “The NSSF amendment Act 2019, has been on the floor of parliament since 2019 without completion yet workers conditions continue worrying with the outbreak of the both lively and financial deadly covid-19 pandemic.”