Ugandans the least savers in East Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda-The managing director of National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mr Richard Byarugaba, has urged employees to save for their future retirement. He said statistics in the region show that Ugandans have one of the least saving cultures compared to the other countries in East Africa

“We save less than 10 per cent of our income because we consume 90 per cent of our income. Even the 10 per cent is because it is forced on us,” he said. 

According to Mr Byarugaba members should look at the money they save with NSSF as a long term investment. He said when you decide to save you should save for the short term, save for the medium term and also save for the long term. 

While addressing the Western and Northern region employers Mr Byarugaba said failure to save is a mentality issue. He said regardless of how much you earn, you can set your priorities and stop spending on things that don't make returns.

"To save, you need to list your priorities and stop spending on useless things. Why spend money on baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, graduation parties? Save that lump sum for business or invest in assets,” he said. 

Adding, “The biggest reason why most businesses do not have capital is that we are not saving. We want to rely on banks for loans which will require interests.” 

Mr Byarugaba said the Fund has grown and at the moment it's 10% of the GDP of Uganda. “All the money we collect is not touched but invested. Our assets are under investments. Our assets under investments grew from 6.5 trillion to 7.9 trillion,” he said. 

During the meetings many members had the opportunity to ask the fund managers questions. Many of them expressed need to get their savings early so as re invest. 

Many people have the impression that they are not going to live to receive their benefits.  However, the data from the NSSF shows that 97 per cent of the fund’s members live to receive their benefits with only 3 per cent members’ benefits being received by survivors.  

About the regional meetings

The regional annual employers meetings are a requirement of the fund to keep its members informed about the investments and what activities that the fund plans for them. 

According to the NSSF managing director, the fund got feedback during the annual members meeting in Kampala that a lot of the members upcountry were unable to attend so it was decided that in additional to the Annual Members Meeting in Kampala, the fund would institute regional meetings. 

The meetings are held in three cities outside Kampala, one meeting Kampala, another meeting in the Western region, Northern region and Eastern region. 

This is the second year the fund is running such meetings. The first meeting was in Mbale which had record attendance of the NSSF members who are based in the Eastern region. The second meeting was held in Kabrarole on Tuesday last week and it attracted more than 500 members from Western region and the greater Masaka region.