17 December 2012

Uganda: Informal Sector Encouraged to Save

Kampala — The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is set to tap into the country's informal sector as a way of encouraging people adopt the culture of saving since the sector is Uganda's greatest employer.

"Uganda is still in its infancy in terms of saving and the informal sector mainly save in property such as land and cars a thing that limits one from making solid investments", said Mr. Richard Byarugaba, NSSF's Managing Director during the launch of the fund's new logo in Kampala last week.

The unveiled logo consists of a refreshed blue and green white color as well as a new tag-line- 'A Better Future', which according to Byarugaba, symbolizes the fund's renewed commitment to be even more relevant to its members. The slanting font of the word NSSF symbolizes progress.

"We are not merely changing our look and feel, but rather, the change of our visual identity symbolizes my commitment, your commitment and our commitment to deliver a better future for our growing membership by providing quality products, great customer service and offering competitive returns in a transparent and efficient environment," he said.

The new corporate identity coincides with the steady growth of the fund's asset base to UShs 3trillion (US$ 110m) as of end of last month, a precedent the fund attributes to improved customer relationship management, adoption of faster but cheaper delivery channels and adoption of better technology.

While briefing journalists, Byarugaba said that the new NSSF law being tabled in parliament will help the fund tap into the informal sector and dispel the myth amongst the public that NSSF is a tax.

He however says that of the 11 million Ugandans employed in the formal sector, only 500,000 workers are active members of NSSF an indicator that the country is still lagging behind as far as saving is concerned in both sectors.

Byarugaba expresses concern that of the 30,000 companies in the country, only 76% are complaint as most of them have not been consistently contributing to the fund.

It's on this note that he encourages NSSF members to be whistle blowers of companies not contributing to the fund.

Over the past two years, NSSF's balance sheet has grown by 76% to Ush3 trillion (about US$ 110m) from Ush 2.1 trillion (about US$ 79m) in 2010/11 as of end of last month.

The fund's assets are invested in fixed income, equities and real estate.

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