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NSSF seeks to recover Ushs 160B from defaulters in Amnesty Window

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NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba

By Our Reporter

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is seeking to recover over Ushs 160 billion following announcement of a grace period of 3 months for all employers that have not remitted employees’ social security contributions to agree a payment plan. In exchange, the Fund will waive up to 95% of the penalty amount owed, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba has said.

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10,839 out of more than 33,270 employers registered with the Fund have not paid NSSF contributions in a period ranging from 2 months up to 7 years thereby denying their employees social security protection.

Byarugaba said that although it is the obligation of every employer to pay social security contributions for their employees on a timely basis and the correct amounts, the Fund recognises that for various reasons, some employers may be unable to remit funds on a regular basis. Eventually, they get overwhelmed by the arrears and penalties levied on unremitted funds.

“Therefore for the next 90 days, we have declared an Amnesty for all defaulting employers to allow them negotiate payment plans with the Fund. In turn, I will waive up to 95% of the penalty the defaulting employer is supposed to pay. This is on condition that such an employer comes forward, commits to clear all the arrears owed in a period to be agreed by signing a Deed of Settlement,” Byarugaba said.

Section 14 (2) of the NSSF Act empowers the Managing Director to waive “whole or part of any penalty subject to such conditions as he or she may determine.”

He added that using a similar approach, the Fund has already recovered about Ushs 13.7 billion since July 2017 from 380 employers who came forward and signed Deeds of Settlement.

Byarugaba said that employers that do not take advantage of the Amnesty window risk court action to recover the arrears, the penalty and interest accrued. “Litigation is our last resort. We prefer to have discussions with employers as per our Relationship Management business model, because we understand that sometimes, businesses face challenges with their cash flows. However, employers that not only
categorically default but are also unwilling to agree payment plans with the Fund will be taken to court,” he said.

Information available from the Fund indicates that 174 employers have been arraigned before courts of law and over Ushs 17.8 billion has been recovered in the process.

Byarugaba added that beyond paying for their employees’ social security, employers should know that remitting NSSF is good for their business.

“Companies that do business with the government, many other government agencies and even in the private sector are required to present clearance certificates confirming that they are NSSF compliant. We also know that employers who pay social security contributions easily attract and retain the best employees. It is therefore a good business decision for employers to pay NSSF contributions,” he said.

As at end of December 2018, the Fund was worth Ushs 10.2 trillion up from Ushs 8.7 trillion in December 2017. Monthly average contributions are now at over Ushs 96 billion.

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Local Business

Kabira Country Club to host Easter Carnival

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By Our Reporter

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The Easter holiday is upon us. In the spirit of Easter celebration, Kabira Country Club is organizing a mega Easter Carnival slated for Saturday, April 13th.

Dubbed “Kabira Easter market”, it will be a fun-filled affair featuring an artisan market with over 100 vendors and lots of entertainment including a live band. There will also be plenty of kids’ activities like face painting, egg treasure hunt, and full access to a playground fitted with jumping castles, swings and more games.

The event is free entrance and gates will be opened mid-morning.

With 95 luxurious guest-rooms and exceptional amenities, Kabira Country Club offers a perfect getaway for relaxation.

“Whether your stay is for business or pleasure, Kabira Country Club has all you could possibly need in a modern, comfortable hotel, situated in a wonderful location.” Vismay Maniyar, the general manager of Kabira Country Club noted.

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Coca-Cola enabling access to safe drinking water for refugees in Uganda

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Mark Hoogendam General Manager UBC - South Sudan Coca Cola poses for a photo with the local community.

Mark Hoogendam, General Manager UBC – South Sudan Coca Cola poses for a photo with the local community.

By Our Reporter

Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company remains committed to the communities of the countries where it operates through a newly launched collaboration with Spain for UNHCR (The United Nations Refugee Agency). The project, known as “Water Assistance for South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda” is designed to ensure access to safe drinking water for South-Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

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Guaranteeing access to clean water and sanitation services for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda is the driving priority behind the collaboration between Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Spain for UNHCR. The project will be carried out in the settlement of Bidibidi, located in the district of Yumbe, west of the Nile River. As the largest camp for refugees from South Sudan, it covers approximately 234 square kilometers.

UNHCR and Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company seek to improve the water supply situation at the Bidibidi refugee camp settlement through installing a hybrid system that will ease extraction from one of the existing wells. In total, there are two functional hand pumps, one of them being this deep well where pumping water requires the strength of minimum two adults, meaning the process is strenuous and difficult. This new system will provide clean water to more than 6.500 people, covering a distance of 9km radius from the water site and creating 7 different distribution points, it is estimated that the recommended availability of 20L per person per day when the site is fully operating will be achieved.

Having access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure is key to ensure a healthy life. Additionally, clean water availability has the power to encourage gender equality, further education and generate income for people who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war, persecution and violence.

Yet millions of people across the world are deprived of this essential need. The issue is particularly problematic in Southern Africa. The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone must spend up to 40 billion hours per day collecting water.

The United Nations has also resolved that all refugees or asylum seekers must have access to safe drinking water. In Uganda, one of the largest countries of asylum in the world, 65.5% of over 1.22 million refugees come from South Sudan, where the conflict started in 2013 caused a massive exodus of civilians to neighboring countries.

Insufficient water supply in the Bidibidi settlement has led refugees to resort to collecting water from unprotected sources, including open ponds, streams and rivers, to meet domestic needs. Not only does this raise severe health concerns, but it also instigates gender issues and hinders education because women and children are generally the ones commissioned by their
families to fulfill the arduous task of extracting water from a deep well.

Other sources of clean water include tank trucks able to supply 40 m3 of water a day, a measure that is both expensive and unsustainable.

“Equatorial Coca-Cola has a long history supporting South Sudanese communities, we began our operations in the country in 2012, and we continue supporting them wherever they are, not only by providing beverages but with our community projects.” Mark Jan Hoogendam, General Manager, Equatorial Coca-Cola in South Sudan (UBC).

“Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda is honored to join Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company as they commission their collaboration with Spain for UNHCR in an initiative dubbed “Water Assistance for South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda” – Maureen Kyomuhendo, Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda is already working with REHORE, a local NGO in Uganda to empower female refugees in three camps including Bidibidi under the Coca-Cola 5 by 20 program.

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Local Business

MTN Foundation sponsors corrective surgery for children with disabilities at CoRSU Hospital

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Acting MTN Uganda CEO Mr. Gordian Kyomukama (L) hands over a UGX 184m cheque to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities to CoRSU Hospital CEO Dr. Davide Naggi

Acting MTN Uganda CEO Mr. Gordian Kyomukama (L) hands over a UGX 184m cheque to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities to CoRSU Hospital CEO Dr. Davide Naggi.

By Our Reporter

Over 80 children and youth with disabilities are set to benefit from free corrective surgery thanks to a partnership recently signed between MTN Foundation and Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services for People with Disability in Uganda (CoRSU).

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The initial phase of this project, worth over Ugshs 184 million, aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities in Uganda, and will see beneficiaries consisting of 60 children and 20 youth drawn from different parts of the country, starting this April.

CoRSU is a private local NGO located in Kisubi, founded in 2006 and officially opened in 2009 with a mandate to prevent disability and to restore ability. It has as such made a tremendous contribution towards improved quality of life for children with disabilities through the provision of quality Orthopaedic and Plastic surgery, assistive devices, therapy and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR). Each year, CoRSU provides surgery to thousands of children and adults to correct or reduce their impairment.

“The MTN Foundation and CoRSU partnership speaks into our consistent mandate which is to make the lives of our customers brighter. To regain the ability of mobility is a beautiful gift especially to our youngsters who previously may have had their hopes and dreams shattered by previous circumstances. By removing the barriers that children with disabilities face on a daily basis, we can enable them to realise their full potential,” said the Acting CEO MTN Uganda, Mr. Gordian Kyomukama.

According to a 2014 UNICEF report on The Situational Analysis on Children with Disabilities, quoting the 2002 Uganda Census findings by Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 19% of children with disabilities aged seven to sixteen have never been to school and 39% of those aged 17 to 22 had completed fewer than four years of education. With limited access to education, children with disabilities face an added disadvantage of illiteracy, which can further affect their quality of life.

The CEO, CoRSU Hospital, Dr. Davide Naggi commended the MTN Foundation for the partnership. “We thank MTN Foundation for coming to the rescue of the future leaders of this nation. Children with disabilities are vulnerable but also an important and valuable part of our society. They are often marginalized, but thanks to the support from partners such as the MTN Foundation, we are able to redefine that for the better, by providing these young souls equal opportunities at life and restoring their hope for a brighter future.”

The one-year partnership between the MTN Foundation and CoRSU will also see MTN staff visit the hospital from time to time to spend time with the children, engage in community work and donate various items for the children’s comfort.

The MTN Uganda Foundation is a non-profit entity that was inaugurated in July 2007 as a vehicle through which MTN Uganda implements its corporate social investments (CSI). The main objective of the foundation is to improve the quality of life in communities across the country by supporting and implementing sustainable projects in Education, Health and other National Priorities.

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