“The report from parliament is advisory and it goes to the executive which then assesses the merit of what has been recommended. At that point, whatever they(executive) decide, we will then implement but until they do, the Fund has to continue running,” Ayota told journalists on Monday.
He was responding to a question in regards the recommendation by parliament owing to an investigation by parliament.
The Select Committee of Parliament tasked to investigate alleged abuse of office, corruption and mismanagement of the National Social Security Fund(NSSF) has recommended the stepping side of former Managing Director Richard Byarugaba and Deputy Managing Director , Patrick Ayota to step aside to pave way for investigation by IGG.
The report was consequently adopted by parliament after debate last week.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the acting Managing Director said whereas parliament made recommendations, they are only advisory and the final decision rests with the executive.
“But you ask the minister to resign, the board to step aside and top management to step aside? What happens to the Fund? Think about that if we all want safety. The point of it all is that until the executive pronounces itself in terms of recommendations, we will still put,”Ayota said.
In the first address to the media and the public at large since the release of the report by parliament that found NSSF officials culpable for roles played in the abuse of office, corruption and mismanagement of the Fund, the NSSF officials said there was no evidence to prove any mismanagement of funds.
The NSSF board chairperson, Dr. Peter Kimbowa explained that the alleged shs6 billion was only planned for but no cash was ever released.
“The shs6 billion being talked about is only in the plan to expand coverage and ensure there is compliance. As a board, this was a suggestion and idea that we got to understand that there is need to expand our relevance and deepen value creation at the lowest level possible. It was only a plan and budgeted for but authority to plan is very different from authority to spend,”Kimbowa said.
“The board is therefore waiting for the work plan. The general perception in the public is that a bag was brought to the Fund and was filled with ssh6 billion and taken to Ministry of Gender but that is only an exciting thing to hear but it didn’t happen. The money is still here and growing on behalf of members. Even the sh1.8 billion which was mentioned that it was shared among board members as they wished is only a block figure placed in the budget but without a plan. We needed a real good work plan to release it to move into corporate social responsibility activities. The money is still intact in the Fund and growing. There has not been any stealing at NSSF.”
The NSSF board chairperson noted that in absence of evidence to prove the allegations, it is only a mere allegation of money misused by the Fund.
The NSSF management however noted that report by parliament was devoid of important context but also contains inaccuracies, especially regarding investments.
“For instance, the Fund has a total of 120 investments, however, only one, the West Nile Golf Club has lost value. In our opinion, the fact that the committee had to go back almost two decades to find one investment that has lost value shows that the Fund had a stellar performance over the years,”Kimbowa said.
The acting NSSF Managing Director, Patrick Ayota said where the report by parliament highlights areas where improvement is needed, the same didn’t consider context or information provide in many instances.
“For instance, our investment philosophy is guided by the invest policy and guidelines, as well as the URBRA investment guidelines. This basic rule behind the principle of diversification is a realization that not all investments will perform well all the time,”Ayota said.
“Therefore, any fund’s investment performance must therefore be analysed in terms of the entire portfolio, rather than cherry-picking as the committee did. An analysis of the Fund’s investment portfolio over the last 12 years shows consistent growth of the assets and a competitive return.”
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