Since September last year, Parliament has been debating about the amendment of the National Social Security Fund Act, Cap.222.
The proposals to amend this act are aimed at closing gaps in this Principal law and such proposals include, giving the Fund powers to recover from a third party any sum owed, establishing a stakeholder board, empowering the board to introduce new ‘benefits’ in consultation with the minister, revisiting the appointment of managing director and the deputy, and providing for voluntary contributions that include self-employed Ugandans.
Although over 29 clauses in the Bill have been passed by the Parliament, two major clauses may make this Bill not be passed by the current Parliament.
According to reports from the plenaries, there is a lot of disagreements surrounding the two clauses.
Such clauses include one that questions which ministry should be in charge of NSSF and the other disagreement is on whether the percentage of savings to be accessed under the mid-term provision be set by the Parliament or by NSSF board.
The two clauses have created an invisible cold war between the two arms of government (Legislature and the executive). In all debates about them (clauses) some legislators want NSSF to be under the Gender Ministry. However, the executive has insisted that it will remain under the finance ministry where it has been for over the last 10 years.
Due to Covid-19 lockdown, there was much pressure on NSSF to pay all its subscribers at least 20 per cent of their savings generally to revive them from the financial hardships. However, NSSF had no any instrument to depend on to serve the interests of MPs and the public generally.
This forced the President Yoweri Museveni to call for a meeting with the Parliamentary committee that is handling the bill. In the meeting he advised the legislators to do more consultations on the two contentious clauses.
Nevertheless, given the fact the on Thursday the Electoral Commission (EC) issued out the campaign guidelines and even the elections dates for Members of Parliament, it might be very difficult for the current Parliament to come back purposely to discuss the bill and pass it.
Generally, Kadaga decided to allow MPs to engage in a campaign for re-elections since their Parliamentary elections are to take place on 14th January 2021 which is two months and 22 days from now.
According to observers, given the fact that every MP is now fighting to return to the 11th Parliament, it might be impossible for all of them to converge, discuss and agree to pass this Bill.
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