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Uganda Railways Corporation On Spot Over Failure To Remit Shs2.8bn Staff Savings To NSSF

MPs on Parliament’s Committee of Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have grilled top management of Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) over failure to remit social savings to a tune of Shs2.8bn to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) despite deducting the money from staff salaries.

While appearing before the Committee, Stanley Ssendegeya, the URC Managing Director admitted that the Corporation hasn’t remitted NSSF for their staff for 2 years because the entity is short on cash, thus prompting Management to negotiate with NSSF to give management more time.

“We still owe NSSF, but for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) we are sorted, but NSSF, we haven’t cleared fully and it is still a big matter on our side. That amount is for all staff combined. However, we are talking to NSSF to be patient with us lightly. As business improves, we shall be able to clear arrears, that is why NSSF doesn’t have any problem with us,” Ssendegeya said.

However, the remarks infuriated Charles Bakkabulindi, Workers Representative, who wondered who will incur the cost of interest URC staff are missing out on NSSF interests during these negotiations.

“I think the MD should respect us that we know what we are asking, you are already deducting 5% of my salary, the only answer I expect from you is that you have a special account we put the money somewhere while we wait the 10%. We shall not drag this issue, we are going to take action, summon NSSF to tell them to deal with you,” Bakkabulindi said.

He was backed by Joel Ssenyonyi (Nakawa West)  and COSASE Chairperson, who wondered why URC had sought negotiations with NSSF and not URA to halt remittance of PAYE in order to prioritize welfare of workers first.

“These are people who aren’t earning as much as they should and now, they are struggling with the present, but even their future is affected because NSSF is supposed to help them their future, but it is being affected because they aren’t getting interest, that means both the present and future and we want that to be prioritized,” Ssenyonyi said.

Although Ssendegeya promised to initiate negotiations with URA, he defended the decision to start negotiations with NSSF on grounds that unlike URA that is strict to the extent of attaching funds on the account, NSSF would require court order to do so.

“NSSF are more flexible to talk to but also, their law is weaker than URA because they can’t go to the bank and pick my money without getting a court order. It is true we are concerned about the matter and all of us are potential beneficiaries but we are really stuck. We are doing the best we can to improve our income then the money we have is limited by the state of assets,” he said.  

The Committee has also given URC management to sort out the issue of insurance of the four locomotives that were recently purchased at Shs48Bn, after learning that the new facilities aren’t insured and if they overturned, passengers or customers of merchandise wouldn’t claim compensation.  

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