Assessing management and challenges of the public service pension scheme in Kabarole District, Western Uganda
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The study assessed the level of management and challenges of the Public Service Pension Scheme in Kabarole District. The study was guided by three (3) objectives: To assess the perception of government pension scheme management by the pensioners, to examine challenges faced by the Publics Service Pension Scheme and Pensioners, and identify the strategies for addressing the challenges faced by the pension scheme and pensioners in Kabarole district. The study used a descriptive survey research design and adopted quantitative and qualitative approaches. The sample size consisted of 86 pensioners and 10 (Key informants) MDAs and district officials involved in pension management. The simple random sampling technique was used to select the pensioners, while purposive techniques were used for the MDAs and district officials for the study. Questionnaires and interview guides were used as instruments for data collection. The researcher analyzed data using excel to compute frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviation about the study objectives. The results from both the quantitative and qualitative data revealed that the pension scheme was not well managed in Kabarole district. The district did not promptly capture, assess, audit, and approve pension and gratuity applications on time. Pensioners did not collect their pension as at and when due hence spending a lot of their economic resources following up on their benefits. Results further revealed challenges faced by the PSPS and pensioners in Kabarole district like the un-funded budget, corruption, fraud, bureaucratic procedures, accumulated pension arrears, etc. The study releveled strategies and reconditions for the challenges faced, including prioritizing retirement benefits and timely release of funds, promptly initiating retirement requests, fighting corruption, introducing the contributory pension system, etc. The study made recommendations that included: Reducing the steps and bureaucracies involved in the benefits processing, strengthening the fight against corruption, periodic training, mentoring, and coaching of the responsible officers in benefit processing, the establishment of a pensions/retirement benefits regulator, liberalization of the pension sector, the introduction of the contributory pension system, harmonizing salary and pay reform across the public service. Etc.