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Peg Media Houses License Renewal To NSSF Compliance, Broadcaster Association Demands

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has urged the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) not to renew licenses for any media house guilty of non-remittance of social security contributions.

The suggestion was made as a means of safeguarding journalists from non-payment of their NSSF contributions. Five percent of every worker’s gross salary is deducted and added to mandatory 10% contribution by the employer and remitted to NSSF every month. However, some employer do not remit the money and in effect steal 5% of the worker’s salary.

In an address to ICT sector players concerning compliance with NSSF Act requirements, Kin Kariisa, the NAB chairperson, stated that the association has explored various avenues to bring media houses in line with these requirements, but progress has been limited. Kariisa emphasized that the renewal of a media outlets’ license should be contingent upon obtaining an NSSF compliance certificate.

According to Kariisa, government-owned media houses, as well as those owned by politicians, are the primary offenders, and their employees are the most affected.

“The government also owns media, such as UBC, which is supervised by Honorable Kabyanga,” he stated. “We need to inquire about the number of contracts, their viability, and whether NSSF contributions are being remitted. Furthermore, MPs and ministers are involved; as the chairman of NAB, I am aware that more than 30 ministers and over 100 MPs own radio stations.”

Kariisa also criticized UCC for granting numerous media outlet licenses without due diligence, resulting in the sector’s dilution. Many license holders are using them for purposes other than advancing the media’s agenda, and many of these stations are struggling to break even and are on the verge of closure.

Statistics from UCC reveal that Uganda has a total of 294 licensed radio stations, 73 television stations, and 74 online data communication service providers.

Geoffrey Kabyanga, the State Minister for ICT, expressed concern that these practices have led to a decline in professionalism among journalists, adding that tagging the NSSF compliance certificate as a license renewal condition will help improve the situation.

The engagement with the ICT sector marks the fourth in a series of efforts aimed at ensuring compliance with the NSSF Act requirements. Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, said that since these engagements began, 630 eligible SMEs have been identified in various sectors. While their compliance with NSSF stands at 51 percent, slightly above average, there is a need for further action.

As a result of this dialogue meeting, ICT sector players have been granted until February 1, 2024, to comply with the NSSF act provisions, failing which they risk penalties upon enforcement.

-URN

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