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
Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution
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.
Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative
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.
”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.
“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.
“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.
Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23
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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