URBRA on retirement benefits of employees’ savings. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority Mr. Martin Nsubuga has asked Ugandans to understand and acknowledge the essence of the establishment of the agency. He emphasizes that UBRA has set up institutional capabilities that drive value and has a robust and proportionate supervisory framework.
URBRA is an autonomous body established under section 2 of the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority Act 2011, Act No. 15 of 2011.
With responsibility for supervising institutions that provide retirement benefits products and services, the umbrella body is responsible for regulating the establishment, management, and operation of retirement benefits schemes like NSSF, Parliamentary pension scheme among others in Uganda in both private and public sectors.
This puts the institution in a position to protect and ensure the stability and integrity of the financial sector through the stability and security of pension funds for the beneficiaries of retirement benefits; license, regulate the establishment, management, and operation of retirement benefits schemes in the country.
Employees contribute 5% of their monthly salaries to the scheme. For a couple of months, they have been agitating for partial access or early withdrawal of retirement benefits because of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 since many are not able to accommodate the rise in the cost of living.
However, Nsubuga says the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) is constrained to support such demands because they are not supported by law.
“The scheme was established to help the workers prepare for their time of retirement and the leadership of the agency would not like to perform any irregularities contrary to the institute’s instruments of the establishment.”
The rules of most licensed retirement benefits schemes describe the benefits a person can access i.e. age benefits, withdrawal benefit, invalidity benefit, emigration grant, and survivor’s benefit. Therefore the benefits are intended to provide a safety net for members upon retirement, permanent incapacitation, or for dependents in the event of death but not covid19.
Over 75% of scheme assets are invested in government securities (treasury bills and treasury bonds) while 15% is invested in quoted equities and 7% in immovable property. In the event of a call for early payment to members, it would require liquidating those assets to raise the necessary liquidity.
However, because most of them are invested for the long term, liquidating such assets would require selling them at a discount, notwithstanding the distortion in financial markets and fiscal sustainability. Visit: https://urbra.go.ug/#