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Uganda: Fight Over Mid-Term Access to NSSF Savings Heads to Court

A Bill to have Ugandan savers access 20 per cent of their contributions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to see them through the economic hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic, has ignited heated parliamentary and public debate, and ended in court after opposition from the fund.

Mr Byarugaba's letter stirred up an uproar with proponents of the midterm access, saying that in citing dire negative economic consequences, NSSF was technically avoiding its natural responsibility, the purpose and cause on which it was formed and forgetting the justification of its existence which is to provide a social security safety net for its members whenever their social security is under threat.

Mr Rwakakamba and his organisation now want a court order directing NSSF "to pay out at least 20 per cent to each of its members whose lives have been affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic; and declare various provisions of Section 19 of the NSSF Act unconstitutional especially those that impose restrictions on mid-term access by contributors contrary to the obligations as regards to the rights guaranteed under the international human rights instruments ratified by Uganda."

They contend that allowing members to access 20 per cent of their contributions will justify the purpose and relevance of the fund since it is a social security fund whose sole purpose is to help its members in such times when many have lost income, employment and source of livelihood due to the pandemic.

Parliament, the public and activists have in recent weeks piled pressure on NSSF to give its members midterm access to 20 per cent of their current savings to cushion them from the effects of the corona virus lockdown and pandemic

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