Medard Sseggona, Chairperson Public Accounts Committee
A section of legislators have proposed to have civil servants employed by government dedicate a portion of their salary on their pension, saying the current practice where government meets this expenditure is financially burdening to the economy.
The proposal was brought to light by Medard Sseggona, Chairperson Public Accounts Committee while presenting the Committee report on the Auditor General’s report that raised several queries were raised on the management of the salary and Pension Payroll in the health sector.
“The Government should develop a system of a contributory pension scheme for Government employees as opposed to a system where Government shoulders the entire burden of providing pension. Such a system is cumbersome and does not allow growth of pension funds for the civil servants unlike in the private social system where the Fund grows with the period of contribution and service,” Sseggona said.
The Auditor General noted that in a number of referral hospitals, pensioners experienced delayed access to the payroll, contrary to regulations that require responsible officers to initiate and complete the processing of retirement benefits within six months to the mandatory retirement of employees.
The audit report cited Masaka Regional Referral Hospital where 4 pensioners delayed to access the pension payroll, with the average of 7 to 8 months, while inn Mubende Regional Referral Hospital where 3 pensioners took between 7 to 12 months before accessing the payroll.
Asked to explain the delays, the Hospital management blamed the delays, the hospitals’ managers blamed the delays in the computation of retirement benefits and delayed submission of the documents by the retirees, explanations the Committee dismissed as inexcusable.
Sseggona remarked that the Committee was dismayed by the discovery of the trend by Government to run a manual system where a retiree is required to produce among others an appointment letter issued 40 years back, arguing that it is the duty of Government as a prudent employer to keep proper records of employment in the employee’s personal file. In modern times, that is basic corporate management through computerisation.
He warned that delayed access to the pensions payroll is a disservice that can lead to demotivation of staff and equally poor wellbeing of affected retirees and it also leads accumulation of pension arrears and threats of litigation and associated costs.
“The Committee further observed some cases of complete non-payment of pension, contrary to Section 9(1)l of the Pension Act 2014. Further, the current pension system shouldered by government is expensive and cumbersome and causes difficulty in tracking the growth of the Fund,” said Sseggona.
The Committee also recommended to the Ministry of Public Service to fully computerise their tracking and information management to enable automatic migration from salary to pension payroll upon retirement without further assurance.