Pensioners demand pension scheme be digitized

Pensioners demand pension scheme be digitized
Catherine Bitarakwate, the Public Ministry Permanent Secretary

Government workers and pensioners have called for the digitization of the pension scheme to ease access to their funds. A number of civil servants and pensioners interviewed by our reporter say the pension the sector in the country is very slow largely because of the myriad of different stakeholders involved and lack of proper legislation to guide the sector.

William Bateganya, a civil servant at Makerere University, says there is no proper representation and advocacy for pension schemes in the country. He several workers don’t enrol on the pension payroll on time and it’s only recently that some employees have started taking proactive steps to secure their retirement with minimal challenges.

Christine Senabulya retired in 2016 after working with the government for 32 years as a teacher. She was immediately removed from the government payroll but wasn’t enrolled in the pension payroll. It took her four years to get money on her account.   According to Senabulya, the process of enrolling for pension is very tiresome because of the documentation involved, which she says would be eased by digitalizing the system. 

Godwin Beinomugisha, another pensioner wonders why no steps have been taken to digitalize the sectors in an era where people order for groceries online, invest and offload millions in cryptocurrency at the click of a button. “This ‘consumer-centric’ approach is percolating every aspect of the employee’s experience, even those in retirement,” he said.

He wants politicians to voice the challenges pensioners go through to stop them from struggling to get their benefits.    

Catherine Bitarakwate, the Public Ministry Permanent Secretary, says a bill to guide the digitization of pension schemes and more is already before parliament. She says Uganda has about 320,000 civil servants, who will be included in the new digitized scheme.

Hassan Nakabale, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), faults parliament for delaying the approval of the bill meant to provide for the digitizing of pension payment and enrolment in Uganda. The Bill was approved by parliament in July 2020.

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