Financial forecasts at the 6th Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in October 2016 were noncommittal especially in the wake of the February 2016 presidential election in Uganda and the then upcoming Kenyan General Election in August 2017. Trustees in their remarks then braced attendees for the worst performance, especially since the East African equity markets, which hold a substantial amount of the Scheme’s investments, are dominated by foreign players. These closely monitor the regional political climate and are known to withdraw their investments whenever any political event that will likely affect the markets looms. The situation was not helped by failing commercial banks in the region and conflict in South Sudan.
Fortunately, whereas the markets behaved as predicted, MURBS’ fund value grew by 34% from UGX 78.2billion as at 30th June 2016 to UGX 104.5billion as at 30th June 2017, thanks largely to retiree contributions and recovery of UGX 10billion as partial settlement of outstanding retirement benefits both from Makerere University. Addressing Members at the 7th AGM, held on Thursday 26th October 2017, the Chairperson-elect, Board of Trustees Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi also noted that the Scheme made net returns on investments worth UGX 12.5billion compared to UGX 3.5billion the previous year. “This performance was driven mainly by a positive performance in fixed income owing to high interest rates prevailing on government securities” explained the Chairperson. Government securities in the form of treasury bonds and bills account for approximately 72% of the Scheme’s total investments.
The Scheme’s membership also grew from 3,301 members the previous financial year to 3,763 members. The Chairperson in his remarks introduced the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors Programme, aimed at enhancing the Scheme’s governance by directly involving members who are trained and exposed to the operations of MURBS. “These volunteers will assist with clarifying informal queries from members at departmental level and they will form a team from which potential trustees can be identified and mentored” said Mr. Naigambi.
MURBS emerged winner of the Retirement Benefits Schemes category of the Financial Reporting (FiRe) Award 2016. At the 7th AGM, the Chairperson Mr. Naigambi presented the FiRe Award 2016 to members present. MURBS remains the top institution in this category thanks largely to the work by the Audit Committee headed by Mr. David Ssenoga. Mr. Ssenoga informed the AGM that a new format of the Auditor’s report has since been adopted and the Scheme reasonably complied with new financial reporting guidelines as issued by the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA). He further noted that the Scheme duly complies with all Income Tax Requirements and reassured the AGM that MURBS maintains a meticulous track record of all owed to it by the sponsor Makerere University.
The 7th MURBS AGM held in the main hall was a well-attended affair with representation from both University Leadership and staff associations. The days emcee, Mr. Louis Kakinda often used the breaks in between sessions to introduce key members of the University leadership and staff associations. In attendance were; Mr. Bruce Kabaasa-The Chairperson Appointments Board, who represented Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, the Chairperson University Council, Ag. Director of Human Resources-Mrs. Dorothy Senoga Zake, Deputy Dean of Students-Mr. Stephen Kateega, members of Council and staff.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Board of Trustees-Dr. John Kitayimbwa had introduced the new Trustees as appointed on 1st April 2017. These are; The Chairperson-Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi, Mr. John Peter Okello and Mrs. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda. In addition to Dr. Kitayimbwa who was reappointed as Secretary to the Board, Mr. William Ndoleriire also returned as one of five Trustees of the Board. Mr. David Ssenoga and Dr. Saul Hannington Nsubuga by virtue of their being Chairperson and Member of the Audit Committee respectively are in addition co-opted Members of the Board.
In his address to the AGM and in response to some of the questions raised by members especially regarding the safety of their investments in seemingly unpredictable equity markets, Dr. Kitayimbwa reassured the gathering that the Scheme’s fund managers; Sanlam Investments East Africa and GenAfrica Asset Managers, are some of the best in the region and keenly follow market trends to return the best value on investment.
“All investments made by the fund managers on behalf of MURBS are informed by an actuary’s inventory” said Dr. Kitayimbwa. “Our investments are also guided by an investment horizon; which in our case, based on the average age of our membership, is 15years. We have to ensure that whereas we seeking the best investments to grow the fund value, we maintain a certain level of liquidity to pay members who are eligible to leave the scheme” he further explained.
Responding to members who also felt that it was unfair to struggle with constantly rising interest rates on loans taken from commercial banks and yet they could borrow against their benefits portfolio, Dr. Kitayimbwa shared that MURBS is regulated by URBRA which has strict conditions under which a member may access their benefits, the key being upon retirement. He however reassured the AGM that URBRA is fronting the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation Bill, which will hopefully provide for more flexible ways of accessing benefits to support mortgages, foot treatment costs and other needs. He further restored confidence in the members that there benefits are protected by law and in the unforeseeable event that the Scheme’s bankers were to go under, the regulator would first and foremost ensure that retirement benefits are secured before any other depositors are considered for compensation.
To reiterate Dr. Kitayimbwa’s point, Prof. Jean Barya-MURBS’ Senior Legal Counsel advised Scheme members to take keen interest and actively participate in the debates around the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation Bill and the National Health Insurance Scheme bill. “Education and Health are two of the largest expenditures that we incur in life. You therefore need to be interested in these bills because we shall all benefit if they are passed in a proper manner.”
In closing the 7th AGM, the Chairperson Mr. Naigambi thanked all members for sparing time to attend the event in large numbers and urged them to further study the report they had received as well as all information on the MURBS website. “I encourage you to embrace the idea of additional voluntary contributions (AVC) in addition to the 5% by Makerere to further boost your benefits at the time of retirement” 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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Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…