At the Fourth Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) held on 18th December 2014, the Secretary-Board of Trustees (BoT), Dr. John Kitayimbwa declared at 12% yet another market-high rate of return for the Staff Scheme as compared to similar schemes like NSSF which declared 11%. The rate of return is used by schemes and corporations to measure the profit on any investments they have made over a period of time; and in the case of MURBS, in respect of the year ended 30th June 2014.
In his introductory remarks given at the Fourth AGM held in the College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT) Conference Hall, Dr. Kitayimbwa lauded the BoT, MURBS Administrator-Liaison Financial Services as well as Fund Managers PineBridge Investments and StanLib for a job well done. He thanked officials from the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) for taking time off to attend the AGM. URBRA is the regulatory authority in charge of managing the operations of retirement benefit schemes in Uganda and was represented at the 4th AGM by the CEO-Mr. Moses Bekabye, Legal Services Manager-Ms. Rita Nansasi and Ms. Janet Iremera.
In her report, the MURBS Chairperson Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde was happy to note that MURBS is a fully licensed retirement benefits scheme in accordance with URBRA with eight out of nine Trustees licensed by the regulator. She noted that the gains made by MURBS were buoyed by the favourable investment climate as Uganda registered a positive growth of 4.7% driven mainly by Government expenditure on infrastructure. As a result, MURBS made a gross income of UGX 6.7billion and a net income of UGX 4.5billion. She further reported that the scheme paid out over UGX 2.4billion in benefits.
The Chairperson however noted that the scheme continues to experience challenges in the form of unremitted contributions from the employer amounting to UGX 3.94billion for the period November 2013 to June 2014. “As such it has been impossible to award interest on contributions received during the course of the year on a time-weighted basis” said the Chairperson.
She further reported that the total fund value of MURBS stood at UGX 65.72billion as compared to UGX 78.85billion the previous year. The drop in fund value was as a result of an impairment loss on contributions receivable from the employer amounting to UGX 33.46billion. The Chairperson however reassured members that the trustees with the help of courts of law were pressing for the recovery of this debt as owed to the scheme by the University.
Hajati Nakatudde was also glad to inform members that the scheme with the help of the Administrator had developed an online platform to enable members to access their profiles instantly. “We have developed an online platform that will allow members to access their MURBS records and member statements in real-time as well as make changes to their member details and we thank our Administrator Liaison Financial Services for this milestone” said the Chairperson.
Presenting the Financial Statements for the year ended 30th June 2014, the Scheme’s Principal Pensions Officer Mr. Vitalis Omondi noted that the scheme still had a number of qualifying members with uncollected benefits. He reported that MURBS membership grew from 3,193 to 3,254 as at 30th June 2014 implying an increased number of employee contributions to the scheme. MURBS Investments grew from UGX 43.3billion in 2013 to UGX 52.7billion in 2014 thanks to the great work by Fund Managers PineBridge investments and Stanlib.
Supplementing the Administrator’s report, Dr. John Kitayimbwa noted that MURBS received an investment income of UGX 5.2billion in 2014 with the biggest gains received from treasury bonds interest. Growth in income was also experienced due to gains in share price for brands like Safaricom where the scheme owns shares. He further noted that the scheme had saved money by not incurring any legal costs in 2014. He however appealed to URBRA to help expedite cases of members with medical conditions seeking to access their funds to meet treatment costs. He noted that the current Uganda Medical Board (UMB) assessment procedures were too tedious and often left members frustrated as they failed to use their own savings to pay for treatment.
In his remarks, the URBRA CEO Mr. Moses Bekabye informed members that the Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) Act of 2011 has provisions mandating employers to contribute to their employees’ retirement benefits. He backed MURBS in recognizing the unremitted employer contributions as a debt in favour of scheme members but took a softer stance when he advised members to avoid litigation by settling any matters amicably. With regard to delays by UMB in assessing member requests to avail funds for treatment, Mr. Bekabye reassured the AGM that this matter was being addressed in the current submissions by URBRA in a bill before parliament. “Among the mandatory benefits that will make contributions to retirement benefits schemes will be i) Age Benefit ii) Survivor Benefit-in the event of employer death iii) Invalidity Benefit-in case one is sick or incapacitated and cannot work anymore and iv) Minimum Health Care Package. This will mean that employees who make mandatory contributions will be able to get medical treatment” said Mr. Bekabye.
In the reactions that followed from the audience, members urged the BoT to calculate how much the University owed MURBS such that stakeholders could be consulted on what action to take through their respective staff associations. Members also raised queries on who approves the expenditure by BoT, how much of beneficiaries’ contributions should be spent by the BoT as well as issues to do with impairment as shared in the Chairperson’s report to the AGM.
In response the BoT reassured members that Trustees are part of the URBRA Committee that checks expenditure ratios of Retirement Benefits Schemes in Uganda and so far, MURBS is one if the best performing schemes in the country with regard to compliance. Trustees further shared that the BoT budget is approved based on an annual work plan. and in compliance with URBRA regulations. With regard to the debt owed by the University which led to the impairment loss, the BoT advised that the best way of recovering this debt was through staff General Assembly action, which the association leaders present resolved to follow up.
In her closing remarks, the Chairperson Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde thanked all present for contributing to the discussion at the 4th AGM. She further requested members present to remind all retirees to pick their benefits from the scheme, according to the lists of names published in the media.
The emcee of the day and Public Relations Officer for the Academic Staff Association (MUASA) Mr. Louis Kakinda thanked the BoT for their transparency which had led to a fruitful 4th AGM. He further urged members present to support the MUASA Executive and Management in the quest to get the Government to deliver on its promises. “Remember that our contributions are meager and we are pushing Government to give us the UGX 15million for a Professor pro rata, and so we urge you to keep supporting us,” he concluded.
Article by Public Relations Office
Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education
When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.
But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.
He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.
He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.
So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.
Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022
The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.
About the JADS program
The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline. The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.
The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.
Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.
- Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
- Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
- University evaluates and selects applicants.
- University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
- AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
- AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.
WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update
SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa
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