Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has decided to institute a select committee to investigate the ongoing controversy surrounding alleged mismanagement of Shs 17 trillion shillings at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The Speaker will announce a five-member committee on Monday next week, vowing not to allow the ongoing power fights at the NSSF that are affecting the operations of the Fund.
The decision to constitute the committee followed dissatisfaction with a statement issued by the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Betty Amongi regarding the ministry’s involvement with NSSF. The fund is supervised by both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Gender.
The Speaker reiterated the importance of protecting workers’ savings stressing that any diversion of the funds is a criminal act hence directing the investigations into the operations and management of the Fund.
“I don’t want to say this money is cursed. But I have grown up overtime seeing that whoever goes for workers’ money is rotting in prison. The money that goes to NSSF belongs to our workers. We are here to legislate for people, for our constituents and humanity. It is one more reason why we must look at issues that affect the workers of this country,” she said.
The Speaker made the remarks shortly after Amongi who has been in the eye of the storm over a letter said to have been written by her on the fight at NSSF appeared before Parliament to clear the air on the matter.
The controversy revolved around the reappointment of the then managing director, Richard Byarugaba who had attained the age of 60 and had already served two terms.
In her statement on the floor of parliament, Amongi presented data to prove that the fund is still on course and that the savings are safe and secure.
She, however, asked for patience amongst legislators regarding administrative concerns at NSSF noting that some of these concerns are still being investigated by the relevant authorities.
“The fixed income portfolio is invested in government bonds, which are the safest investment instruments for they are guaranteed by sovereign governments,” she said, stating that as of the end of December 2022, fixed income constituted 78% of the investment portfolio, equities% and real estate, 7%.
The Minister noted that supporting the business model of NSSF are three rings of defence including legal management, risk management and internal audit. These rings of defense are to ensure that the operations of the fund are managed within an environment that minimizes risk
She said the board’s visit to meet Gen Salim Saleh in Kapeeka on December 6 2022 had the intention of establishing how a private industrial park with a big number of workers can inform strategies for the fund to enrol these as members and contributors.
The Speaker asked Among to bring all the letters she wrote to the board and the President in regard to the appointment of the managing directors.
She said that although President Museveni and the board of NSSF had recommended the reappointment of Byarugaba and Deputy Managing Director, Patrick Ayota, several petitions on mismanagement and alleged corruption at the entity led to the halting of the process.