MURBS Declares 10.6% Interest Launches Annuity Arrangement, Property Project

The Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) on 11th October 2019 at a presentation of its performance for the Financial Year 2018/2019 declared an interest of 10.6% payable on all members opening balances as at 1st July 2018. MURBS also introduced two new products for Members; the Annuity Arrangement courtesy of the Insurance Company of East Africa (ICEA) and the Property Project, dubbed Ivory Estate Sonde.

Welcoming participants to the presentation, the Principal Pension Officer MURBS, Ms. Susan Khaitsa introduced Members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) who included; the Chairperson, Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi, Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda, Mr. John Peter Okello and Mr. William Ndoleriire. Also introduced were co-opted Board Members; CPA David Ssenoga-Chair Audit Committee and Mr. Paul Kuteesa-Member, Finance and Administration Committee.

Ms. Khaitsa also recognised the; CEO, Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA)-Mr. Martin Nsubuga, Representative of the CEO, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA)-Mr. Chris Kananura and CEO, ICEA (Insurance Company of East Africa) Life Assurance Company-Mr. Emmanuel Mwaka. The service providers; Administrator-Octagon Uganda Limited, Custodian-Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited as well as Fund Managers-GenAfrica Asset Managers Limited and Sanlam Investments SA were equally well represented.

Addressing participants, the Chief Guest Rt. Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega, Vice Chairperson Makerere University Council who represented the Chairperson, Mrs. Lorna Magara, thanked MURBS for inviting Council to witness the 9th Presentation of its performance.

On 1st April 2010, the Makerere University Council established MURBS. This in itself was a bold decision before the promulgation of the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority noted Rt. Hon. Kidega.

The Chief Guest then informed participants that the Scheme Sponsor Makerere University Council and Government had as at 30th June 2019 paid over UGX 30billion of unremitted contributions to MURBS. He also reassured the audience of Council's commitment to ensure that MURBS becomes the best scheme on the Ugandan market.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the Chief Guest for sparing time to attend the presentation, noting that MURBS matters are of great importance to Makerere University.

He therefore congratulated MURBS upon coming up with the Annuity Arrangement and Property Project as innovations for Members. I congratulate MURBS on these wonderful innovations because this shows that at long last this institution is breaking out of inertia in line with my manifesto theme; Unlocking the Potential of Makerere University.

Whereas MURBS declared an interest of 17% on 30th June 2018, this year's reduced 10.6% declaration was attributed to a number of factors in the operating environment. Delivering the presentation on the Scheme's performance, Mr. Naigambi shared that during the financial year 2018/2019, regional equity markets, which hold over 20% of the MURBS asset class declined greatly. This was attributed to weakening foreign investor appetite in light of global economic and trade uncertainties.

Nevertheless, MURBS collected UGX26billion in member contributions, compared to UGX23billion the previous financial year. The Scheme's Total Net Assets also grew by 30% from UGX142billion in the 2017/2018 financial year to UGX178billion in 2018/2019.

Mr. Naigambi further announced that MURBS had in partnership with ICEA Life Assurance come up with the MURBS Annuity Arrangement and introduced two Annuitants; Mr. Michael Nganda from the Department of Mathematics and Assoc. Prof. Andrew Muwanga from the Department of Geology and Petroleum Studies. These shared their testimonies of their experience so far and benefits such as Health Insurance for the Annuitant and a spouse and Funeral cover that come with the arrangment.

Mr. John Peter Okello on behalf of the BoT then presented MURBS' first real estate development project; Ivory Estate Sonde. The project consists of 358 serviced plots starting at 50x100feet, spread out over a 50acre estate. Priority will be given to MURBS Members, who will be able to purchase each plot at UGX55million. MURBS has partnered its Custodian Stanbic bank to ease purchase of the plots by MURBS Members.

According to Mr. Jackson Emanzi, Stanbic Uganda's Head of Home Loans, MURBS members will pay an initial 10% of the cost (UGX5.5million) and can access a loan facility within 48 hours to pay the balance over five years in UGX1.2million monthly installments. A dedicated desk has been set up at the Stanbic Bank Makerere Branch to ease access to the loan facility for plots at Ivory Estate Sonde.

Speaking on behalf of URBRA, the CEO Mr. Martin Nsubuga commended MURBS for being a very organized scheme with highly focused Trustees. Our biggest challenge at the beginning of setting up the Authority was dealing with Trustees who either didn't know their obligations or over delegated responsibility to service providers.

Mr. Nsubuga on the other hand commended MURBS Trustees for steering the scheme to continued growth and congratulated Makerere University upon safeguarding the retirement benefits of their employees. He reassured the audience that URBRA had in place a solid legal framework to ensure that the MURBS investment is secure.

On behalf of IRA, Mr. Chris Kananura said that the Authority is fully committed to developing the Insurance sector in Uganda and commended MURBS for partnering with ICEA to add value to retirement benefits.

Research has shown that 96% of retirees exhaust their benefits within three years of retirement. Annuity arrangements are therefore an excellent way to prepare you for a comfortable retirement and the IRA has introduced risk-based supervision to ensure that companies fulfill the promises spelled out in their product portfolios added Mr. Kananura.

The CEO, ICEA Life and gallant alumnus of Makerere University, Mr. Emmanuel Mwaka noted that with more than 4,500 Annuitants, his company is the largest provider of annuity arrangements in the region. He therefore welcomed more MURBS members to take advantage of the services provided so as to mitigate the risks associated with lump sum payments upon retirement.

This position was reiterated by Mr. David Opio Okello, Member, ICEA Life Board of Directors who commended MURBS BoT for the exceptional leadership and tremendous job in growing the Scheme since its inception to the current fund value.

This partnership with ICEA Life will enable MURBS to meet its objective to deliver retirement security for members both today and tomorrow. I thank the Insurance Regulatory Authority for introducing annuities as an option for members to receive their retirement benefits added Mr. Opio Okello.

Source: MAKERERE University

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