Retirement Delight

By on June 8, 2022

It’s always been the song on everyone’s lips that Uganda boasts one of the youngest populations in the world. In fact, our population is so young that in the near future, it is expected that young people will be running things in every sector – hopefully anyway. Everywhere you turn, there are young folks making things happen left, right, and centre. The plan for most if not all young people is to hang around as long as possible and enjoy life well into old age.

As of 2020, life expectancy for the average Ugandan was at 63.71 years. And so the young people are aware that they still have a long way to go. This life expectancy has actually shot up from 49.43 years in 1971 to 63.71 years in 2020, witnessing an average annual rate of growth of 0.53%. This simply means that all these young Ugandans are bound to hang around for quite a bit. 

If most of the population is still around for a little longer, one would rightly assume that surely, there must be some form of planning being done to make sure that folks enjoy their lives today, tomorrow and into their advanced ages, right? Unfortunately, the sad fact is that Ugandans haven’t been so famous for saving for retirement and it is why many of our good countrymen and women have struggled after retirement. 

The good news however, is that there has never been a better time to plan for retirement than today. All the ingredients required for a proper retirement savings culture are very much in place in Uganda as we speak. And as a testament to this conducive environment, there are more Ugandans saving now for their retirement than ever before. 

As of end 2020, the Retirements Benefits Sector comprised of 67 schemes (55 segregated schemes and 12 Umbrella schemes covering 177 participating employers. This points to the fact that there are more people and institutions taking the issue of Retirements Benefits Savings serious.

For starters, there are several retirement savings schemes that are in place in Uganda to enable each and everyone to save for their retirement. Some of these schemes include the most popular, the defined contribution schemes where each member is allocated an account in which contributions are deposited monthly, i.e. the employer’s and employee’s predetermined contributions and permitted additional contributions and returns earned by assets. Then there is the defined benefit (DB) Scheme where the benefits, which are determined by the scheme rules, are defined in advance. Here, the benefits have a relation to the final salary or the years that one has been an employee. Finally, there are the Hybrid Schemes which are some form of combination between the DB and DC schemes.

Whichever scheme one opts for, it must be remembered that all retirement savings schemes are regulated by Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA). URBRA is an autonomous body that was established by virtue of section 2 of the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority Act 2011, Act No. 15 of 2011. 

The Authority is responsible for regulating the establishment, management and operation of all retirement benefits schemes in Uganda whether they are in the private or public sector. The Authority is the supervisor of all institutions that offer any retirement benefits products and services. URBRA is not a Retirement Benefits scheme but rather an oversight body. 

It has now been ten years since its establishment and during that time URBRA has been at the forefront of addressing the inefficiencies, corruption, loss of funds and poor investments that were a huge part of the sector. This, they have been able to achieve through clear and well thought out regulations and guidelines. The Authority has been able to create a strong foundation and as such, the Retirements Benefits sector is on what one would call the right trajectory.

A few days ago, I happened to pass by Railway Grounds where URBRA was holding a two-day health camp as part of activities to mark the 10 years of the Authority. Among the services offered at the camp completely free of charge were COVID 19 Testing and vaccination, TB checkups, Eye Check-Ups and Blood donation among other things. The health camp was done in conjunction with the Ministry of Health which offered health services free of charge along with Mengo Hospital. One of the reasons for the health camp was to offer some of these otherwise hard to get health services to the public.

The other reason for the Health Camp was to share as much information about URBRA as possible. The Authority is keen to make sure that more and more people embrace and understand the value of saving for retirement.

A good number of Retirement Benefits schemes were present at the Health Camp to offer some insight into the various products and services they have. I was personally shocked that, there are so many schemes, it is almost difficult to count them.

With nearly 85% of older persons in rural areas suffering from abject poverty, now is a good time as any for Ugandans to embrace saving for retirement. They say human beings are most vulnerable at their youngest and at their oldest. The difference is that at your youngest, you have very little say in the matter and your entire life depends on other human beings. However, you can secure your old age life by saving early so that you are not a burden to friends and family when you are older. 

For a sector whose assets have grown from Shs 4 trillion in 2014 to the current Shs 19 trillion, the Retirements Benefits sector is one that is on the way to becoming one of the most robust sectors in Uganda. More and more people are embracing saving for the future and whether you are working in the private sector to the public sector, there are several schemes you can latch onto to secure your own future. 

“Retirement – a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it and how you want to do it,” – Catherine Pulsifer

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker