The Board of Trustees for the Makerere University Retirements Benefits Scheme (MURBS) has declared an interest of 11.05% on members’ balances for the financial year starting 1st July, 2021 to 30th June, 2022.
The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Godwin Kakuba made this declaration during the Presentation of the MURBS Performance for the Financial year ending 30th June 2022 to members of the University Council and Management at a meeting held on 18th October 2022 at Makerere University Telepresence Centre, Senate Building. The meeting was graced by Makerere University Council Members, the Vice Chancellor and members of management, the CEO Uganda Retirements Benefits Authority Mr. Martin. A Nsubuga, the CEO of the Insurance Company of East Africa and leaders of staff associations. Other members present were Trustees of MURBS, MURBS departmental Ambassadors, staff of Makerere university and MURBS among others.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Kakuba highlighted that given what has been happening on local and international market and the impact caused by the COVID pandemic, the declared interest is above the inflation rate implying that members contributions have been well preserved. He revealed that for 1,116 members of staff, the interest generated through the scheme investments and credited on their accounts is more than contributions received from the university.
The Board also confirmed that Makerere University remitted all the contributions that were due for the entire Financial year. Members funds grew from UGX 255bn to 299bn supported by the increase in contributions and positive returns from investments and is projected to hit a trillion by 30th June 2026.
Dr. Kakuba reported that the schemes accounts were audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers Certified Public Accountants who issued unqualified opinion on the financial statements. He said the scheme membership increased by 1000. As at 30th June 2022, the scheme had 7, 162 (active 3,093 and Deferred -4,069) members compared to 5,984(Active -2007 and Deferred -3907) as at 30th June 2021.
“The Trustees collected contributions totaling UGX 33.5bn as compared to UGX 24.5bn for the FY 2020/2021. Out of the 33.5bn, UGX 29.4bn was paid in respect of staff of Makerere university on main payroll except UGX 82.5m. The Trustees appreciate this compliance and are also grateful for the plans drawn to settle the difference. The Trustees thank the Makerere University for honouring these obligations,” he commended.
Dr. Kakuba appreciated the University Management for the progress made towards debt recoveries. The Trustees recovered UGX 6.5bn in respect of the In-house debt and thus, combined with UGX 5bn paid by Government on 20th May 2021, the scheme recovered UGX 11.5bn by 30th June 2022. Dr. Kakuba reported that on 4th August 2022, the Government paid UGX 1.5bn, bringing the cumulative amount recovered to UGX 13bn representing 51% total debt recoveries expressing hope that the balance of 12.4bn will also be cleared.
“The members’ funds grew from UGX 255bn at the start of the FY 2021/2022 to UGX 299bn at the end. This growth was supported by the increase in contributions and positive returns from investments. During the year, trustees approved investments in Unit Trusts which created an avenue for the scheme to maximise opportunities for daily cash contributions. The scheme’s strategy to significantly divest from equities continues to cushion our assets against volatility.” part of the statement reads.
Reporting on the effect of Fund value and return on investment on individual members, Dr. Kakuba noted that MURBs now has a member holding benefits in excess of UGX 400m while the average of the top five holdings exceeds UGX 398m. He promised that the Trustees will strive to push the member with the biggest member holding to hit 0.5bn mark over the next 12 months.
Kakuba also reported that for the past years the scheme has been voluntarily participating in Financial Reporting competitions to gauge its standard of financial reporting as compared to other financial institutions in the country with emphasis on the disclosures made in the report, governance, sustainability, communication and presentation of the accounts.
“With respect to the 2020 Annual report, MURBS again emerged winner in the Retirement Benefits Sector category. These awards are a confirmation that MURBS is on the right course. We are proud to have our scheme as a leader of the pension scheme,” said Dr. Kakuba.
Chairperson of Council satisfied with the interest of 11.05%, cautions staff on Mid Term
In a speech read by Prof. Frank Mwine, the Chairperson Makerere University Council Mrs. Magara congratulated MURBS upon its consistent commitment on accountability to the stakeholders, subjecting the books accounts for auditing by a reputable firm, participating in the Financial reporting competitions and winning five awards.
The Chairperson of Council commended the Trustees for the positive performance indicators, a growing fund and membership, diversified investments, the growing net return on investment and competent return on investment. As leaders in the pension sector, the Chair implored the scheme to keep the position and support other retirement benefits schemes in Uganda to improve.
“I have noted that you have declared less interest this year than last year., but considering the economy and market conditions during the 2021/2022 Financial Year, I am satisfied that the interest 11.05% is a good return. So, our Trustees have done very well and as Council, we agree that this performance has added value on each members holding in MURBS.”
The Chairperson of Council reminded the Trustees to be aware that handling mandatory contributions requires a great deal of care. She implored the Trustees to take the highest level of due diligence as they work with service providers in the sector noting that there is no greater pain to an employee than to be told some of the money was lost in some not-so-clear investments.
In her speech, Mrs. Magara also encouraged staff and retirees not to spend a big part of the retirement package and to take advantage of the MURBS Annuity program in order to have a comfortable retirement. She reasoned that given the rate at which the scheme fund is growing, and the benefits they have, it’s likely that annuity pay-outs will soon be able to match a retirees exit salary for many members. She asked Trustees to sensitize members on the benefits of annuities.
The Chairperson of Council reminded MURBS members that there has been early access to retirement benefits before in Makerere and this has been one of the main reasons senior staff may be still having smaller packages for retirement and some members ending up accusing the university for giving them peanuts at the end of service.
Mrs. Magara cautioned and expressed concern about whispers of MURBS members getting early access to and part of their retirement money on the pretext of hardships faced during the lockdown years of COVID 19.
“I am not convinced this is a good idea for the members of MURBS since the university was able to pay full salaries during that time. The idea of midterm access coming out of a one–time event called COVID 19 should not become entrenched into long term scheme rules. I will therefore caution you to be very careful with this idea and sensitize members of MURBS,” she guided.
MURBS performance-a relief and in line with Council’s objectives – Mak VC
Describing MURBS as the brain child of the Makerere University Council established 12 years ago, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe said the purpose was to ensure that staff lived decent lives in retirement. Prof. Nawangwe reported that the status of the scheme was last year boosted when the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development exempted the University from mandatory contributions to NSSF, making handling of mandatory retirements benefits easier and adding value to the university employees.
Prof. Nawangwe congratulated the Trustees upon the excellent performance saying, the good results presented met the original objectives of the University Council. “It is so gratifying to hear that there are more than 60 employees whose retirement packages are over 300m but are still working and some still below 50 years. This was unthinkable a few years ago. It is good to hear that over 1000 individuals have received more interest than their contributions in this financial year. This is a big achievement for a University that used to suffer negative publicity on the basis of retirement packages of her employees,” Prof. Nawangwe stated.
Prof. Nawangwe recalled that 12 years ago MURBS started with less than UGX 20bn but now holds, over UGX 300bn and receiving monthly contributions over UGX 2bn. He reminded participants that this is part of the potential he was referring to while starting his first term as Vice Chancellor.
“You may also recall that unlocking the potential within Makerere University was top of my agenda. In the case of social security of staff, this is being done every month when more than UGX 2bn is invested by our own scheme and for repayment of university debt. In addition, I promised to prioritise repayment of university debt.”
The Vice Chancellor, expressed happiness that the University with support from Government completed paying all debts for the period between 2005 and 2011 and has now repaid UGX13bn of in-house debt pledging that the balance is expected to be cleared in less than two years.
Vice Chancellor challenges staff to face the challenges of the century squarely
Turning to the staff, the Vice Chancellor stressed that with the completion of celebrations of 100 years of excellent service to humanity, Makerere University has a firm foundation on which to build.
“It is now time to face the challenges of the century squarely. We owe it to the Ugandan tax payer and to the Government of Uganda to come up with innovations that will solve the problems that our people are facing,” Prof. Nawangwe said adding:
“The Government has consistently been increasing funding towards universities. So, Universities too, and Makerere in particular, need to support government development programmes for the country by finding real solutions that impact lives and transform society. Let us nature the good relationship that exists between Government and Makerere university,” Prof. Nawangwe said.
Prof. Nawangwe commended the University Council and Management for the support accorded to MURBS saying, they have worked with the Trustees over many complicated matters and were going to continue working together in other matters such as the amendment of the Trust Deed of MURBS as the new dispensation requires.
MURBS has a formidable team and experts –CEO UBRA
The Chief Executive Officer Uganda Benefits Regulatory authority, Mr. Martin A. Nsubuga congratulated Makerere University upon holding the centennial celebrations successfully. Mr. Nsubuga also congratulated the MURBS for the wonderful performance.
“For people in this Market, declaring the interest of 11. 05% in the era of COVID and the market dynamics that were present, I really have to congratulate you. You have a very good formidable team with very good experts.”
Re-affirming the position of the Trustees on the interest declared and investments made, Mr. Nsubuga said: “On our side, we can only confirm that the numbers that have been declared are consistent with what we had anticipated. Just to confirm to you when we came here we know where your money is invested with almost 80 % in fixed assets and we know how they are trading, we had an idea and we would have been disappointed if they had declared anything less than 10%.”
Mr. Nsubuga commended MURBS Trustees for upholding good governance standards saying, they are reliable, the reason why they were recommended to become an in dependent pension scheme.
He said as a regulator, they were proud of MURBS credibility in her Financial statements describing the performance as unrivalled as far as the standard, disclosures and the returns are concerned.
He appreciated the University Management and Council for the support rendered to the scheme, fulfilling the contribution obligation and enabling the scheme to operate and perform without influence.
Mr. Nsubuga also commended the schemes foresightedness. He implored staff and Trustees to make an arrangement to work with ICEA and and purchase annuities so that they can receive monthly payments throughout their lifetime.
By: Jane Anyango and Ritah Namisango
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,907 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
Apac District gains from CEDAT’s Research on Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model and Efficacious patient management system
The School of Engineering at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) shared findings of research that was conducted in Apac Districts through two projects namely Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model (RCBM) and Efficacious patient management system (EPMS).
The findings of the research sponsored by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University research and Innovation Fund(MakRIF) were disseminated during a dissemination seminar held in the College on Friday 24th November 2023, where it was revealed that Apac the host District greatly benefited from the services that not only led to the increased uptake of internet services but also gained through other socio economic areas.
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