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New blood for NSSF board

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija wants tangible results

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
Matia Kasaija has appointed Peter Kimbowa, a team leader at the CEO Summit Uganda– a private sector Think Tank and managing Partner at IFE Consultants, as the pension fund’s board chair for a three-year term, replacing Patrick Kaberenge.

Kaberenge, whose term expired on August 31, had served as the board chairperson for the last six years. Others appointed are; Silver Mugisha and Fred Bamwesigye representing employers through the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE), Sam Lyomoki and Penninah Tukamwesiga representing workers under the Confederation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) and Julius Bahemuka and Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba, also representing workers under the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU).

Kasaija also re-appointed Aggrey David Kibenge representing the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and Patrick Ocailap, representing the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.  The NSSF Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba, will continue serving as the only executive member of the board.

Kasaija expects the newly appointed 12th Board of Directors for the Fund not to sleep but to deliver results.

“Please do a good job and save members’ savings,” he said as he officially presided over the unveiling of the new board in Kampala on Sept.07. “NSSF is our basket, please keep it for beneficiaries to access…If you grow the fund, then I (government) will borrow from here and not outside.”

He said the appointment of the new members followed the widest consultation from all the constituencies that have a representation on the board.

The main task for the board will be to deliver the fund’s ambitious goal of growing its assets under management from Shs15.6tn today to Shs20trillion by 2025.

Critical moment

Kimbowa said the appointment is an opportunity to serve members of the Fund and the country.

“We have joined at a critical time,” he said in reference to COVID-19 pandemic hit. “The Fund was built on questions and we shall be asking questions and we will be asked questions while we go about our work,” he added.

He said, at board level, they will be pushing the Fund management to use artificial intelligence, data analytics to serve the members but also grow the fund.

He also said, they will be looking at reshaping the Fund’s investment portfolio in line with the legal framework and performance of the economy.

Currently, the Fund has 75% of its assets in fixed income, 20% in equities and 5% in real estate, according to Byarugaba.

“These are strategic investment assets,” he said adding “We have been delivering double digit payment to members.”

However, Byarugaba said, the Fund is at a turning point where government is in the process of enacting the NSSF Amendment Bill, a development that will open up informal and voluntary spaces and other new opportunities, products across sectors of the economy.

“We believe there are going to be changes in the law especially on the talk about mid-term access to cater for needs of members such as housing, school fees, medical and more” Byarugaba said.

Byarugaba said the new board is very well diversified and would create the things “we will be doing” and instrumental in pushing for innovations.

The outgoing board had overseen the growth of the Fund’s Assets Under Management (AUM) from merely Shs5.5tn to Shs15.6tn, representing 175% growth and delivering an annual return of investment of over 2% above the 10-year inflation average to its contributors.

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