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MURBS Inaugurates New Board, Shares Accomplishments

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The Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) Board of Trustees (BoT) on Friday 26th March, 2021 inaugurated two new members to replace those whose terms are set to expire on 31st March 2021. Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA) representative Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda will be replaced by Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema while the National Union of Education Institutions (NUEI)’s Mr. John Peter Okello will be replaced by Mr. Joseph Ikarokok.

The two will join existing BoT Members; Dr. Godwin Kakuba (current Chairperson), Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi (Current Secretary) and Mr. William Ndoleriire (University Council Nominee). Dr. Kakuba joined the current Board as Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) representative in the place of Dr. John Kitayimbwa who retired from University Service. He remains eligible to serve on the incoming BoT’s term which will run from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2025.

Welcoming the audience, Mr. Naigambi said that change in leadership of the BoT occurs every four years as mandated by Clause 7 of the MURBS Trust Deed dated 17th April 2015. He added that the handover was in line with Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) Act provisions of service for Trustees (not exceeding four years but subject to renewal for a maximum of two terms).

PPO Ms. Susan Khaitsa appends her signature to the Deeds as Mr. William Ndoleriire (C) and MURBS Secretary BoT-Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi (R) witness.

He recognized the presence of the URBRA Director Legal-Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa who represented the CEO Mr. Martin Nsubuga, Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration)-Dr. Josephine Nabukenya as well as Council Members-Dr. Tumps Ireeta, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala and Mr. Jackson Byamukama. Also recognized were the Principal College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Chair MUASA-Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, Chair MASA-Mr. Vincent Abigaba, Chair NUEI-Mr. Bruce Twesigye, College Ambassadors as well as MURBS Service Providers. These included; Stanbic Bank, Octagon Africa, GenAfrica Asset Managers, ICEA Uganda and Arcadia Advocates.

The Chairperson BoT in his remarks thanked the audience for attending the handover ceremony, which signified their interest in MURBS’ vision to deliver “outstanding service and retirement security for members – today and tomorrow”. He thanked the outgoing BoT Members for working tirelessly and efficiently to ensure that the Scheme’s vision is realized.

“When the outgoing Board of Trustees took over in 2017, our fund value stood at UGX 140 Billion and today, it stands at over UGX 210 Billion. The outgoing Board has added almost half of the standing value of the fund and I thank our Sponsor Makerere University and all our service providers for this achievement” Dr. Kakuba commended.

Outgoing MURBS Chair Board of Trustees-Dr. Godwin Kakuba appends his signature to the Deed of Appointment

Other accomplishments attributed by the Chairperson to the outgoing BoT included:

  • Streamlined Governance: The BoT standardized 12 policy documents which have enhanced the Scheme’s operations
  • Improved Collections: Thanks to; timely contributions by the Sponsor Makerere University, clearing half of the outstanding debt owed to the scheme by the Government as well as continuing efforts to clear the balance
  • The Ambassadors Programme: Introduction of a rigorous and vibrant Ambassadors Training Programme which has enabled members to gain in-depth knowledge and skills to manage their retirement, and improved information flow between the BoT and Scheme members.
  • Consistent winning of the Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards: MURBS has won top honours in the FiRe Awards’ Retirement Benefits Scheme (RBS) category for the last 4 consecutive years (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020).
  • Timely Payment of Benefits: Reduced period of receiving retirement benefits upon submission of completed applications by members from 10 to 7 days
  • Investment Diversification and Consistent Return on Investment: Pursued prudent means of growing member funds, Awarded an average interest of 12% to Members over the last four years (Interest awarded never went below 10%) and diversified investments into real estate by establishing Ivory Estate Sonde.
  • Introduced Board Evaluation: Outgoing Board hired an independent professional external evaluator to appraise its performance and received an approval rating of 80%

Nevertheless, the previous Board tenure was not without its challenges. Dr. Kakuba noted that the BoT needs to do more to sensitize its members. “Members need to start planning for retirement early, and not when they get the six months to the end of their service notification from the Human Resources Directorate.

“Furthermore, Members should also ensure that their human resource records are up to date as any inconsistencies lead to delays in paying out their retirement benefits” explained Dr. Kakuba.

According to the Chairperson, going forward, the BoT will invest more in training human resource and use of Information Systems so as to continue strengthening the Scheme’s governance. The BoT will also create new products so as to increase options for retirees. MURBS already has in place an Annuity Arrangement courtesy of ICEA Uganda.

ICEA’s Mr. Emmanuel Mwaka (Fore) and Principal CEDAT-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (Background) listen to proceedings

He also made known plans by Trustees to work with the Sponsor to expand the Scheme’s Office space beyond the current Lincoln Flats B4 premises. “And in terms of growth of benefits, currently over 48% of Scheme Members have savings above UGX 150 Million.

“We expect that over the next four years, the majority of members will have savings above UGX 150 Million and the fund value will grow to over UGX 400 Billion” concluded the Chairperson.

Preparing the audience for the official handover ceremony, the Principal Pensions Office (PPO) Ms. Susan Khaitsa thanked outgoing Trustees Mr. John Peter Okello and Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda for their dedication to the Scheme’s success during their tenure. “We thank you for your service, guidance and leadership as Trustees and as the Secretariat, we are honoured to have worked with you.”

Arcadia Advocates’ Ms. Martha Timugiibwa (R) witnesses as Mr. John Peter Okello (L) signs his Deed of Discharge from the MURBS Board of Trustees

She then introduced Ms. Martha Timugiibwa from the Scheme’s Lawyers Arcadia Advocates to preside over the handover ceremony. As part of the proceedings, outgoing Trustees signed their deeds of discharge and incoming ones signed their deeds of appointment. Incoming Trustees also had to audibly voice their willingness to serve on the new Board, a procedure that greatly amused the audience, given the expectation that contesting in itself is sufficient demonstration of readiness to serve.

According to Ms. Khaitsa, the New MURBS Board will meet next week to appoint a new Chairperson, Secretary and assign various responsibilities to Trustees.

Successfully discharged, it was a lively moment as the Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda and URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa handed over plaques of recognition to the outgoing Trustees. Speaking on behalf of the duo, Mr. John Peter Okello expressed happiness that they had successfully served until their official discharge from the Board of Trustees.

Outgoing MURBS Trustees Mr. John Peter Okello (L) and Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (R) pose with their plaques of recognition

“I thank the team we have worked with during the previous tenure and say to the incoming members, the Board of Trustees is not a bed of roses, don’t ask many questions but instead look for many answers” counseled Mr. Okello.

Speaking on behalf of the new Board of Trustees, Ms. Angida Mugyema thanked and praised God for this far He has brought the Scheme and for the grace granted to incoming Trustees to serve MURBS. She appreciated her predecessors’ efforts to lay a strong foundation based on the Scheme’ values of; Ethics, Stewardship, Transparency, Accountability and Client Focus.

The incoming Trustee equally thanked the Secretariat led by the PPO Ms. Susan Khaitsa and her team; Assistant PPO-Ms. Juliet Nabukeera, Office Administrator-Ms. Rhona Asingwire and Mr. Marvin Kakuba, for the excellent support rendered to the BoT.

Incoming Trustee and MASA Representative to MURBS-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema makes remarks on behalf of the New Board

As a member of the first cohort launched on 27th February 2018, Ms. Angida Mugyema was all praise for the rigorous MURBS Ambassadors Programme, whose financial literacy models and other assessments helped her appreciate what is expected of a Trustee.

“If we were told to start today, we are more than ready and willing to work hard, thanks to the preparation we have received” reassured Ms. Angida Mugyema. The Ambassadors Programme serves as a succession strategy for the MURBS BoT. Any Scheme Member interested in contesting to become a MURBS Trustee must be a qualified Ambassador.

Incoming Trustee and NUEI Representative to MURBS-Mr. Joseph Ikarokok led the opening prayer. He replaced Mr. John Peter Okello on the Board.

On 1st April 2009, MURBS was established under irrevocable trusts by the Sponsor, Makerere University Council. Speaking on behalf of the Sponsor and University Management, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda said he was extremely honoured to witness a seamless transition of leadership of an entity at the level of MURBS.

“As a member of the Scheme, I am happy to wake up each and every day knowing that my retirement benefits are safe and growing as shown by not only the interest declared but also activities that successive MURBS Boards of Trustees undertake to grow our funds” remarked Mr. Kiranda.

Ag. University Secretary, Mr. Yusuf Kiranda thanked the Government for continuing to pay staff wages on time despite COVID-19

Reflecting on the previous year, the Ag. University Secretary noted that the countrywide shutdown on 20th March 2020 marked the beginning of a difficult period for Makerere University and other employers. Recalling the layoffs and salary cuts that followed with other employers, Mr. Kiranda paid tribute to the Government of Uganda for continuing to pay staff wages on time and enabling the University to recruit new staff as well as make the mandatory 10% contribution to retirement benefits despite COVID-19.

“It is now our turn as Makerere University to thank the Ugandan taxpayer by recognizing that they stood with us during the COVID-19 lockdown and it is now time for us to stand with them as their children report back to Campus to study” he remarked.

Mr. Kiranda congratulated the outgoing Trustees upon successfully completing their tenure and being celebrated by colleagues. To the incoming Trustees he cautioned that stewardship of public funds is extremely difficult as it attracts a lot of scrutiny – shortcomings are heavily criticized and accomplishments are rarely recognized. He therefore prayed that God would enable them to fulfil their obligations to MURBS and its members.

URBRA Director Legal-Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa who represented the CEO Mr. Martin Nsubuga makes the closing remarks at the Handover ceremony

Concluding the day’s remarks, Mrs. Nansasi Wasswa congratulated the outgoing Trustees upon a job well done in keeping MURBS’ light shining brightly. “MURBS is one of the model schemes that URBRA as a regulator is proud of; the fund value has grown, and the Board of Trustees has put in place structures and polices that ensure good governance.”

She equally expressed happiness that the Board of Trustees had retained three of its members, noting that this was good for the Scheme’s continuity. Taking note of the functions of a trustee as outlined in the URBRA Act, 2011, Mrs. Nansasi Wasswa commended the Board for appointing qualified and experienced service providers, who will ensure that they fulfil the legal and other requirements that come with their roles.

The URBRA representative reiterated the regulator’s commitment to support the new Board to continue stewarding and growing the scheme. She accordingly thanked the Sponsor Makerere University Council and MURBS service providers for ensuring that the scheme continues to thrive.

Members of the MURBS Ambassador Programme listen to proceedings during the handover. 2nd Row Right is Assoc. Prof. Donald Kugonza.

As is the MURBS tradition to honour God at all its gatherings, the opening and closing prayers were led by incoming Trustee, Mr. Joseph Ikarokok and MURBS College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Ambassador, Prof. Donald Kugonza respectively. The event was moderated by Assistant PPO, Ms. Juliet Nabukeera.

Article by Public Relations Office

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The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Makerere University invites graduate students, professionals and researchers in Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Applied Mathematics or Computer Science to register for the 12 week introductory course: Fundamentals of Pharmacometrics, scheduled to run from September to November 2021.

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Please state the email subject as pmxu21

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