By PATRICK JARAMOGI
Speaking about the worries, and growing vacuum within Uganda’s leading social security fund worth UGX 17 trillion, the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) Chairman General, Usher Wilson Owere has demanded that the Minister for Gender Labor and Social Development does due diligence and names the new NSSF top bosses.
“As workers leaders we can’t afford to wait for the vacuum in workers funds. We have come along away regarding these funds, from the original UGX1.7 trillion in 2009 to the current over UGX 17 trillion,” said Owere.
Addressing the media at Fairway Hotel Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, the tough talking Owere hailed the current NSSF management, headed by Richard Byarugaba and his deputy Patrick Ayota describing them as winners.
“We have no problem having the same leadership contract renewed, because they have done a tremendous job, to us they are winners. Those who keep winning can always be retained,” he said.
He however noted that the discretion lies with the Minister for Gender, Labor and Social Development, Hon. Beti Among to name the leadership.
“What we are trying to avoid is having a situation where workers funds is under the leadership whose contracts have expired. Yet there are so many NSSF projects ongoing,” he said.
NSSF appointments over the times
This is not the first time renewal of contracts of NSSF managing director gets controversial, some years back there was a gap when former MD Chandi Jamwa was implicated in a case of causing financial loss to the fund.
Jamwa is currently serving a 12 year jail sentence for this offence
After close to a year, the replacement of Jamwa hit a snag as the then Deputy Managing Director Geraldine Ssali acted.
Byarugaba was then named new Managing Director, and deputized by Geraldine Ssali.
Told to resign
There are unconfirmed reports that Byarugaba, aged 60 now was reportedly told to resign his position of Managing Director before his contract expires in December. Byarugaba was non committal when contacted.
Similar to when the then Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka’s order that all executive positions at NSSF be advertised internationally so as to have a new team in place. Efforts to get a comment from the Minister Gender Hon Beti Among were futile.
After his re-appointment by then Minister for Finance Sydda Bbumba, Richard Byarugaba has steered NSSF into heights making it one of the best, and leading social security entities with huge savings in the entire East African region.
He has managed the hot seat of controlling workers savings from a meager shs1.5 trillion to a whooping shs17 trillion today. Among the key projects he has handle are the Temangalo, and Lubowa housing projects, the Pension Tower, the Mid term access among others.
At NSSF, Byarugaba has faced intense scrutiny, considering the controversial circumstances under which the two previous managing directors left the fund.
But considering his vast experience in banking, and the lessons learnt from all the scandals surrounding the fund, Byarugaba has offered perhaps the best.
Who Is Richard Byarugaba?
Richard Patrick Byarugaba is a Ugandan business executive, banker, and entrepreneur. He is the managing director and chief executive officer of the National Social Security Fund (Uganda), a semi-autonomous retirement pension organisation for non-government employees in Uganda.
He was also listed in 2012 as one of the wealthiest individuals in Uganda.
Byarugaba was born in 1961 in the Western Region of Uganda. He attended Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest public institution of tertiary education, graduating with a degree in statistics and economics. He is a qualified accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom (UK). He also holds a diploma in management from Henley Management College, also in the UK.
Byarugaba has held various positions over the years, with the majority in Uganda’s banking sector
He started as a banking officer at Standard Chartered Uganda (Stanchart), in 1983. By 1992, he had risen to executive director for finance at Stanchart. In 1994, he was transferred to Stanchart’s international headquarters in London, as the regional manager for finance, responsible for Africa. He returned to Uganda in 1997, where he joined Nile Bank Limited, a private retail bank. He became managing director of the bank in 2003. In 2007, Barclays, the British financial conglomerate, bought all the shares of Nile Bank Limited for US $27 million (UGX: 52 billion). The new owners merged the bank with their existing banking interests in the country to form the existing Barclays Bank (Uganda). Byarugaba moved to Baclays Bank (Uganda), now ABSA as the chief operating officer.
In 2008, when Global Trust Bank (Uganda) was established, the new owners appointed Byarugaba as managing director of the newly created bank. He held that position until 2010 when he left to become the managing director and chief executive officer of the National Social Security Fund (Uganda)
Byarugaba has also worked with Hospice Africa, the Palliative Care Association of Uganda, and the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services. When he resigned from Global Trust Bank, he was the treasurer of the Uganda Bankers Association