To qualify for the National Social Security (NSSF) mid-term access, a member should have made contributions for 120 consecutive months, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi has clarified.
Amongi was responding to a Report of the Committee on Gender on the petition on mid-term access presented by the Chairperson, Hon. Flavia Kabahenda, during plenary sitting on 30 November 2023.
In the petition, Mr. Simon Peter Aleper, 46, with contributions in NSSF of 84 months, said he had been jobless since December 2021. He claimed that there was a large number of savers who had been deprived from seeking midterm access to their NSSF benefits due to a wrong application of the NSSF Amendment Act 2021.
“The biggest contest is on the word contribution, versus saving. When the law was passed, everybody who is saving with NSSF and had reached 45 years thought they would be able to access the money,” said Amongi.
She explained that the context is that those who lose jobs leave gaps thereby failing to achieve the 120 consecutive months of contributions.
“If you lose a job and even if you saved for 10 years, if that 10 years is not consistent in contributions, you cannot access. There are so many people who had mistaken contribution to saving,” she said.
Amongi said that the Ministry has now undertaken sensitization of the workers on eligibility of mid-term access.
In its report, the Committee recommended that the Ministry of Gender should sensitise the public to create awareness on the eligibility and importance of mid-term access benefits.
“The Fund should formulate a proper complaint mechanism to enable aggrieved members to seek advice, review, justice and assistance in accessing any benefit accruing to them under the law,” the committee said.
The committee also recommended that the Ministry of Gender should provide quarterly reports on the access to mid- term benefits to Parliament.
Koboko Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Charles Ayume, urged government to explore the option of recapitalizing commercial banks to enable access of low interest loans, as an alternative to mid-term access of NSSF.
“I am worried that our life expectancy is increasing and I think now it is 65 years. If we keep on taking mid-term access below 45 years, we shall be defeating the spirit of social security and this will come into play in the later years,” he said.
The Minister of State Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi, encouraged government to find ways of strengthening Small, Medium Enterprises to provide short term sources of mitigating the shocks of economic challenges.
Parliament passed the National Social Security Amendment Act 2021, granting NSSF members above the age of 45 that have worked for at least 10 years to access 20 percent of their benefits.