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Trustees Commended as MURBS Registers 17% Record Return on Investment

  • In General
  • 25 Oct 2018 - 3:31pm
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 1,468,626
MURBS Chairperson Board of Trustees-Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi (C) flanked by Audit Committee Chairperson-Mr. David Ssenoga (L) and Secretary BoT-Dr. John Kitayimbwa (R) at the 8th AGM on 24th October 2018, Main Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Countless commendations from Management, Scheme Members and the Regulator – Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) representatives poured in as the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) gave details of the 17% rate of return on members’ opening balances as at 1st July 2017. This was at the 8th MURBS Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Wednesday, 24th October 2018 in the Main Hall.

“On behalf of the University Management and the Director Human Resources, I would like to appreciate the MURBS Board of Trustees (BoT) for a job well done. Last week, MURBS organised a Joint Press Conference with the University Leadership at which the Chairperson Council-Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem praised the Board of Trustees upon the stewardship that led to the declaration of 17% return on investment,” remarked Mrs. Dorothy Senoga-Zake.

Mrs. Senoga-Zake further remarked that the Human Resources Directorate was in constant receipt of positive reports from retirees whose benefits were processed on time. “I also thank MURBS for promptly updating member statements and as a member, I am constantly aware of the monies deposited on my account,” she added.

L-R: Mr. Walter Yorac Nono and Mrs. Dorothy Senoga-Zake (Rear) with Mr. Robert Katuntu and Mr. Wilson Kayindi (Front) at the 8th MURBS AGM

She however expressed surprise that only six hundred out of the approximately four thousand scheme members are registered on the online portal according to the MURBS Annual Report. She therefore urged the unregistered members to expressly approach the Scheme Office and take advantage of this service so as to receive notifications of deposits and quickly follow up on any unremitted funds.   

Speaking on behalf of the Regulator – URBRA, Ms. Lisa Betty Oyella commended the MURBS Board of Trustees for once again putting up a tremendous performance leading to the declaration of a 17% sector high return. She also lauded MURBS’ commitment to implementing all URBRA recommendations and effecting policies that improve the Scheme’s efficiency.
 
“MURBS is a very cooperative team and we commend them for always sparing time to participate in URBRA activities. We held a Trustee Training earlier today, where we needed Trustee from an exemplary scheme in the sector to speak to participants and were happy when Dr. John Kitayimbwa agreed to make a presentation despite the short notice. Please note that his willingness to join us was in the midst of preparing for this AGM,” lauded Ms. Oyella.

She also thanked the scheme members for attending the 8th AGM, noting that the annual gatherings present a platform where the regulator can interact with them and take note of matters arising. These notes, she said, can then be used to make recommendations to the BoT to help improve scheme operations.

L-R: Ms. Lisa Betty Oyella, Mr. Davis Mbuga, Ms. Janet Iremera (Rear) and MURBS' Ms. Susan Khaitsa listen to proceedings at the 8th AGM, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Upon registering for 8th AGM, members were handed a copy of the MURBS Annual Report for the year ended 30th June 2018. Prominently displayed on the cover page is a photograph of a beaming retiree, former Dean, and prolific publisher of the School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Prof. David Musoke Serwadda.

“I was completely stunned that I received my retirement benefits within two weeks of submitting my application. I immediately invested my money and I now earn a monthly income from it – EXCELLENT SERVICE!” reads a caption in the Annual Report attributed to Prof. Serwadda.

The Chairperson MURBS Board of Trustees, Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi in his remarks shared that the scheme had paid out benefits amounting to UGX3.79billion to exiting members during the financial year ended 30th June 2018, compared to UGX3.22billion the previous year.

“Our target of paying out benefits to members under normal retirement is thirteen working days upon receipt of the application form and complete paperwork. I am glad to report that during the financial year 2017/2018, we paid out benefits on average within six days.

Cover Page of the MURBS Annual Report for the year ended 30th June 2018 with happy retiree Prof. David Musoke Serwadda

"I would also like to report that in the course of the last financial year, we paid out death benefits amounting to UGX132million in respect of ten members” said the Chairperson.

Mr. Naigambi also informed the AGM that MURBS had launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme, which was another first of clear succession planning in Uganda’s Retirement Benefits sector. Officially launched on 27th February 2018, the Ambassadors Programme membership quickly grew to forty two as at 30th June 2018. Ambassadors have since appointment undergone training in the basics of managing retirement benefits schemes and been closely exposed to MURBS operations, through participation in Trustee meetings and Board activities.

“As part of strategies to secure the retirement of our members, MURBS has started awareness programmes to popularise the annuity payment option as a viable alternative to the current lump sum payment. We believe that the annuity option is a better way of ensuring that our members have a regular income after retiring from service, and our Departmental Ambassadors have been trained on the same” added the Chairperson.

In accordance with the Board Charter; the performance of the MURBS BoT was evaluated for the period 1st July 2017 to 30th June 2018 by an independent consultant; J. Samuel Richards and Associates Certified Public Accountants. Reading the results of the evaluation on behalf of the consultant, Mr. Robert Katuntu, CPA, reported that the BoT demonstrates a high degree of competence, due skill and care in managing MURBS.

The Chairperson, MURBS Board of Trustees-Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi delivers his remarks at the 8th AGM

“MURBS operations are to a great extent compliant with applicable laws and regulations, as well as the Scheme’s governance policies and procedures and, majority of the Scheme’s members are satisfied with the Board’s performance” read Mr. Katuntu from part of the evaluation.

The Scheme’s Independent Auditors; KPMG Certified Public Accountants, also gave MURBS a clean bill of health. “In our opinion, the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme as at 30th June 2018, and of its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standars, the financial provisions of the Scheme Trust Deed and Rules and Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Act, 2011” read Mr. Wilson Kayindi on behalf of KPMG.

Prior to discussion of the Scheme’s financial reports, the 8th AGM’s emcees; MURBS’ Principal Pension Officer-Ms. Susan Khaitsa and Mr. David Ddumba Walakira recognised the presence of the Director Internal Audit-Mr. Walter Yorac Nono, Deputy University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Chairperson Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA)-Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, Chairperson Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA)-Mr. Vincent Abigaba and University Imaam- Hajji Sam Ahmad Ssentongo. Also recognised were URBRA Officials Mr. Davis Mbuga and Ms. Janet Iremera.

Dr. Kitayimbwa kicked off his moderation of the discussion by recognising the presence of the Bank of Uganda’s Mr. Allan Betabe, CFA, who guides the MURBS BoT on Investments. Responding to one of the questions from the audience on the fate of some members’ unremitted funds in terms of benefiting from the 17% record return, he explained that investments made by MURBS are only on the basis of funds received, as per URBRA regulations.

Representatives from MURBS' service providers, Stanbic Bank Uganda, Sanlam Investments East Africa, GenAfrica Asset Managers Limited and Octagon Uganda Limited (Front) and part of the audience (Background) at the 8th AGM, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

“As mentioned by the Chairperson in his remarks, Court awarded the Scheme UGX23billion as unremitted In-House funds from the University in October 2017, together with an interest of 7% per annum effective 1st April 2009. We are hopeful that we shall secure these monies on behalf of our affected members and proceed to invest them,” explained Dr. Kitayimbwa.

Still on investments, another member questioned why a big percentage of the Scheme’s investments at 65% and 7.1% are allocated to Treasury bonds and Treasury bills respectively, and yet there were other investment vehicles into which funds could be diversified so as to earn higher returns for members. In his response, the Secretary, BoT appreciated the suggestion but reiterated that the spirit of the URBRA Act is to ensure that all Schemes in the sector invest members’ benefits safely.

“The UBRA Act limits asset categories by which schemes can invest funds. Additionally, all fund managers have to be licensed by URBRA. So whereas there are so many riskier but higher returning investment vehicles, MURBS cannot employ their services unless they are recognised as fund managers by the sector regulator URBRA” added the Secretary BoT.

The biggest commendation of the day to MURBS came from the eighty two year old former Professor of Biochemistry at Makerere University, Prof. Edward Kakonge. Speaking softly but authoritatively, Prof. Kakonge sincerely thanked the Board of Trustees for all the great work done in profitably investing members’ benefits, as well as the plans to recover all unremitted funds.

MURBS and Council Member, Assoc. Prof. Wilson Tumps Ireeta (with microphone) poses a question during the session to discuss financial reports at the 8th AGM

“I was so happy to see my name in the New Vision (published 19th October 2018) among those whose benefits were ready for collection from MURBS,” added Prof. Kakonge.

The Chairperson MURBS BoT thanked all scheme members for the huge turn up at the 8th AGM, and prayed for an even bigger audience at the 9th AGM. He thanked the University Management, URBRA representatives and all service providers for attending the meeting and contributing to the record 17% return.
 
The total MURBS fund value grew by 36% (UGX37billion), climbing from UGX104.5billion as at 30th June 2017 to UGX142billion as at 30th June 2018, representing the biggest fund growth over the last five years. The growth was mainly driven by; recovery in performance of the equity market, and increase in members’ salaries which in turn increased contributions to the scheme. Payment by the University of UGX10billion owed to the scheme and the vigilance of trustees in pursing an aggressive investment strategy were additional contributors to the growth.

In his closing prayer, University Imam Hajji Ssentongo thanked the Almighty God for according us a bounty of peace and tranquillity during the course of the 8th AGM. He also prayed for divine enablement that the leaders and members of MURBS may be able to achieve the vision, mission and values of the Scheme.

Article by Public Relations Office

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