Legislators task Public Service Minister on pension payments

Members of Parliament have tasked the State Minister for Public Service to explain the delayed payment of pension arrears to retired civil servants.

This followed a statement by the Minister Hon. David Karubanga on the Pensions Census and Biometric Validation Exercise which was meant to have been ongoing but has since stalled.

Karubanga, who presented the statement to the House on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 said that government has scheduled the census exercise of all pensioners in order to have a clean payroll and link up all government databases.

"Government has undertaken reforms to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, and to provide timeliness in paying pension and elimination of unverified records," he said.

However, Members of Parliament expressed dissatisfaction with the delays in paying of the pensioners. They also wondered why government was carrying out a fresh Verification Exercise yet the pensioners have registered for national identification cards countrywide.

Hon. Bernard Atiku() said there was no need for the Ministry to hire equipment to carry out the biometric exercise, yet the government had what was used for National IDs registration.

"Why are we spending funds doing rollcall when these people registered for National IDs? Isn't this duplication? Why are we hiring more equipment when we have it in place already?" Atiku asked.

He advised the Ministry to work with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and simplify the registration.

Aruu County MP, Hon. Odonga Otto tasked the Minister to tell the House when the pensioners will be paid, having served in various capacities in government instead and not the biometric exercise.

"Some of these people worked for over 33 years; why are you telling us about validation? Why didn't you validate them when they were still working?" he wondered.

Karubanga told the Members that the payments will be effected after the end of the exercise on 30th March 2017.

"We shall have a clean payroll after that date and the Ministry of Finance will then be asked to effect these payments," he added.

The Deputy Speaker, Rt.Hon. Jacob Oulanyah directed the Committee on Public Service to follow up the matter and ensure that the payments are effected accordingly.

The biometric validation exercise is aimed at establishing the total number of valid pensioners, capture their details and remove invalid pensioners from the payroll. It is also for linking the pensioners' record to the National Identification Register.

Source: Parliament of Uganda

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