14 December 2012

Uganda: Workers Protest Liberalisation of Pension Sector

Workers have petitioned Parliament protesting liberalisation of the pensions and retirement benefits sector.

"To avoid opening up workers funds to speculators, government should conduct detailed study of the existing in-house occupational retirement benefits and healthcare schemes..... to enable evidence based decision making on this matter," the workers said.

The petition by the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) and the Central organization of free trade Unions was presented to Parliament by workers MP, Teopista Sentongo.

Government, according to the workers, should first enhance salaries of public servants before subjecting them to deductions of contributory pension and retirement since the current pension arrangement is largely responsible for reduction of the disposable income of workers.

Sentongo expressed concern that the government had not yet provided the globally acceptable and recommended International Labour Organisation (ILO) three social security tier schemes which are determined basing on the levels of incomes of beneficiaries.

"Government should consider merging the contributory public service pensions scheme and that of NSSF pension scheme to form one contributory defined benefits scheme to be known as the national pensions scheme." the workers said.

They urged the Government to allow workers majority representation on all boards of pension funds where workers own 100% of the assets and liabilities in line with ILO convention 102 and the report by the Inspectorate of Government on the management of members funds by NSSF.

In 2000, Government had tabled in Parliament the Pensions and Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation Bill, according to Sentongo.

The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah referred the petition to the relevant committee to study and report back to Parliament.

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