Workers Representative Dr. Sam Lyomoki has secured leave of parliament to table the National Social Security Fund Amendment Bill, 2019 by way of private member’s Bill. The bill seeks to amend the NSSF Act, 1985.
Parliament granted Lyomoki leave on Tuesday after the Deputy Speaker of parliament; Jacob Oulanyah noted the failure by the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry to table a Bill amending the NSSF in the past one month.
Oulanyah had given the Ministry a week to table the Bill after pausing debate on Lyomoki’s motion seeking leave of Parliament to table a bill proposing amendments to the NSSF Act on February 12th, 2019.
The Youth and Children Affair’s State Minister, Florence Nakiwala tabled a draft Bill on February 13th, 2019 as proof that government would table a bill to amend the NSSF Act.
Oulanyah noted that since government hasn’t tabled the bill a month after, it is proper for parliament to allow Lyomoki to table his Bill.
Oulanyah urged Lyomoki to get support from Parliament and Government to prepare the Bill, which entails acquiring a certificate of financial implications from the Finance, Planning and Economics Development Ministry and its publication in the Gazette before it is tabled in Parliament for the first reading.
Lyomoki welcomed the development, saying it is a breakthrough for Workers and the people who will benefit once the NSSF Act is eventually amended in their interest.
Lyomoki argues that government has failed to amend the NSSF Act since 2009 yet the act needs to be updated to improve the performance and transparency of NSSF.
Lyomoki plans to move 30 amendments to the NSSF Act.
He seeks to among others amend the composition, tenure and functions of the NSSF Board to ensure that workers and employers have permanent slots as opposed to the current arrangement where the minister may or may not appoint such representatives on the board.
Section 3 of the Principal Act states that the governing body of NSSF shall be the board, consisting of a chairperson, the managing director and not more than eight other members appointed by the minister for Finance.
He says the bill seeks to limit the powers of the minister to appoint the board and provides for its recall when it fails to perform its duties.
Lyomoki wants unemployment benefits and any other benefits not exceeding 30 percent of the total accrued savings also included. A member of the Fund who has been unemployed for a continuous period of two years will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
The proposal provides that the member must show evidence of having actively sought employment in vain. Section 19 of the current NSSF Act provides benefits for age, survivor, individual, invalidity and emigration grants.
Also, there is a proposal to revise the age limit for retiring members to forty five and fifty instead of the current fifty and fifty five years.
Section 20 of the Act provides that a member is entitled to age benefit once he or she attains the age of fifty years and has retired from regular employment or has no gainful or regular gainful occupation or has attained fifty five years of age.
Lyomoki explains some of the benefits that members will have access to if the Bill is tabled and enacted into law. Apparently, there are about 2.5 million subscribers to NSSF.
Lyomoki is optimistic that he will proceed smoothly to table the bill as soon as it is published in the gazette and is issued with the certificate of financial implications.