News and Views

URA petitions House over benefits Bill

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Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has petitioned Parliament seeking a review of some of the provisions in the Liberalization of the Retirement Benefits sector Bill, 2011.

Presenting over the petition signed by over 1, 0000 URA workers to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, URA commissioner general, Allen Kagina, said the provisions of the Bill have far reaching implications and consequences to statutory contributions made by URA and anticipated future contributions.

“As URA, we feel this Bill should be amended. We appeal to Parliament to address critical concerns arising from several provisions of the Bill,” Kagina submitted.

The tax body opposed age benefits under sections 27 and 28 of the Bill saying section 27 (2) be numbered as section 27 (1) (c) and the 30% prescription be deleted to bring in harmony with section 27 (1) (a).

“We are of the considered view that the conditions for grant of age benefits are unjust, it would mean that a person who attains 55 years of age but is no longer in regular employment yet made  contributions to retirement benefits sector for less than 15 years would be denied what he/she labored to contribute during his /her working life,” said James Kamara chairman staff council URA.

He further explained that;   “such a person a person must first clock 60 years if he /she contributed for less than 15 years in order to access the age benefit”.

They proposed that the age benefit be accessible at 45 years basing on the study of the life span of average Ugandans than the proposed 60 years by the Bill.

URA said the Bill denies employees the lump sum pay which has been an arrangement under the National social security fund (NSSF) Act, adding that it should be maintained under the NSSF Act.

They also opposed  section 5 (3)of the Bill that talks about in-house retirement benefits saying it would interface with the existing in-house retirement benefits schemes arrangements in place.

“In URA, employees are entitled to lump-sum payments upon leaving employment if this Bill is passed into law, it would mean that we would not be entitled to lump sum benefit payments due as it has been the norm,” Kamara said.

The tax body proposed that in house retirement benefits scheme should not be compelled to register and operate under the proposed law but rather the law should leave it operational.

Meanwhile Kadaga assured URA that their concerns would be addressed during a review of the Bill which is currently before the parliament’s committee on finance.

“This Bill has received a lot of criticism and concerns and you should have a public hearing with the committee so that your concerns can be addressed,” Kadaga said.

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