The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) managing director, Richard Byarugaba has said that the fund has no legal basis to provide partial payments to its members in the wake of corona virus pandemic.
His remarks, on Tuesday follows an outcry by a section of members of public especially opposition politicians that the fund should provide them a partial payment of their benefits to support them in the fight against the virus since the cost of living is going to increase.
“We empathize with Fund members in the face of the uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the sentiments regarding the need for partial payments from the Fund. However, the Fund has no legal basis upon which to make ad hoc payments as being suggested,” Byarugaba said in a statement sent to Red Pepper.
Byarugaba stated that the fund was created to provide a safety net for members in case of old age, permanent incapacitation, or for dependents in the event of death of a member and that the current pandemic does not meet any of the above criteria.
He further stated that the partial payments would be discriminatory since the Fund has about 1.5 million members who if were to be given relief from the Fund, the vast majority of the 19 million working population would be left out.
He also pointed to the fact that about 80% of the Fund's assets are invested in Government Treasury Bonds.
“If NSSF is to pay all its members a portion of their savings, it would amount to Government buying back its Bonds for us to raise liquidity, and this would leave Government short of locally mobilized funds for its social and economic interventions, which would have a more devastating effect on the economy in the long term,” he stressed, ”We are confident that the Government is putting in place measures to lessen the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemi.” he added.