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MURBS declares Market-high Rate of Return for 2nd year running

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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.

Members listen attentively to the proceedings of the 4th MURBS AGM, 18th December 2014, CEDAT, Makerere University,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.

MURBS Legal Counsel-Prof. Jean Barya updated the 4th AGM on the court proceedings to recover contributions from the employerShe 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.

URBRA CEO-Mr. Moses Bekabye reassured the 4th AGM of the regulator's support towards MURBS bid to improve members' welfareIn 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.

MURBS BoT Secretary-Dr. John Kitayimbwa (L) confers with emcee Mr. Louis Kakinda during the 4th AGM, CEDAT, Makerere UniversityIn 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

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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution

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Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative

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By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23

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Mak-Undergraduate-Admissions-2021-2022

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).

The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.

Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.

Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.

For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH
AG. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Date: 22nd September, 2022

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