The Government of Uganda is seeking to borrow Shs1 trillion from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to help fund the construction of headquarters for all government ministries, agencies and departments at Bwebajja on the Kampala- Entebbe Road.
According to sources, NSSF will lend the money to government as per Section 30 of the NSSF Amendment Act, which was in 2021 approved by Parliament and assented to by President Museveni.
Clause 1 of Section 30 of the NSSF Amendment Act reads: “All monies in the Fund, including the reserve account, which are not for the time being required to be applied for the purpose of the Fund shall be invested in such investment as may be determined by the board in consultation with the minister responsible for Finance.”
While Mr Patrick Ayota, the acting NSSF managing director, was not immediately available to comment on the matter, in 2021, Finance minister Matia Kasaija hinted about the deal, describing it as an “indirect loan” from NSSF to the government.
“NSSF is funding the project as an investment. It will be recovered from the rent that ministries have been paying,” he said then.
Mr Jim Mugunga, the Finance ministry spokesperson, is quoted by Daily Monitor as neither saying the revelation is diversionary.
“Whoever is giving you that information is diverting you from a bigger story. There’s nothing irregular about what is being done and the money is yet to be approved,” Mr Mugunga is quoted as saying.
However, there is concern that by lending to government, NSSF risks embroiling workers’ funds in ventures that may not immediately pay back, especially given that the government is highly indebted, hence increasing chances of default.
The project will be built on what used to be J&M Airport Hotel.
The Bwebajja land that was previously owned by businessman Joseph Behakanira, who died in 2010, was purchased by NSSF in 2016 after a Cabinet endorsement.