I watched Byarugaba’s lazy attempt at explaining the continued irrelevancy of the fund to its contributors, with wild bewilderment and consternation.
As I was still trying to fathom the insensitiveness with which the man formerly praised for his astute business acumen, was giving a clumsy prognosis of the likely effects of coming to the aid of the currently ‘locked-down’ clients, another shocker beamed on the screens- a letter purportedly written by the president to the speaker, rooting for the immediate transfer of the fund to the Ministry of Finance.
For fear of boring my readers, with an extremely long post, I will limit myself to the president’s line of thinking.
To fully debate the topic, we need to probe the president’s interest in a matter that remotely concerns him. Other than providing overall executive oversight to the fund as the head of state, the president is neither a contributor nor a beneficiary –as his retirement benefits are provided for under the Presidential Emoluments and Benefits Act 1998.
Even the Parliamentarians who are busy debating the pros and cons are themselves covered under their own scheme called the Parliamentary Pensions Act (as amended in 2011). The only sure way of contributors feeling safe, is a fund, solely in their own hands or a ministry charged with social development.
So, we need to probe as to why people who are not beneficiaries of the provident fund want to cry more than we the ‘bereaved’ –who suffer monthly deductions?
My thinking is as good as yours-it’s the only available pool of money where government can run to-as and when it needs cash-and pay back as and when it wishes-as the real ‘owners of the funds suffer the brunt of high interest rates in commercial banks.
Murungi, is a Communications and Advocacy Manager at Kabarole Research Centre