Analysis of informal sector retirement benefits schemes in Uganda
Lotukei, Mark Straicus
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Despite, the existence of a Retirement Benefits Sector Regulator; only 14 percent of the Ugandan labour force is covered by some form of retirement benefits Scheme (Uganda Retirement Benefits Sector Annual Report 2017). The purpose of the study was therefore to examine the operations of the retirement benefits schemes, reveal the factors influencing the informal sector workers’ willingness to join such schemes and devise strategies to improve their enrollment into these schemes. The study population comprised of management and staff from Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority, URBRA (35), trustees and members of MAZIMA (1000) and trustees and members from Kampala City Trader’s Association (KACITA) (1200) informal sector schemes, making and overall population of 2235. The sample size of 331 was selected from the accessible population of 2235 using Krejcie and Morgan sampling table (1970). Proportionality was used for all categories to determine the actual numbers while simple random sampling was used to select the respondents based on the recommendations by Krejcie and Morgan (1970). Data was collected using questionnaires and interviews. The validity was tested using content validity index and the study run the Cronbach’s alpha co-efficient using SPSS to test reliability and considering 0.7 as the threshold to be adopted. The tool was also pilot tested to ensure that the questions were understood and measured what was expected. SPSS was used for quantitative data processing while themes were used for qualitative analysis. Key findings were that; involvement of the banking and non-banking financial sector in retirement benefits schemes is ideal; it is okay for retirement benefits schemes to lend money to the government through securities openly traded in the market; it is appropriate for employers who fail to remit employees savings to face tougher penalties; introducing foreign players and foreign capital in retirements the benefits sector is acceptable. The key factors affecting the involvement of informal sector in retirement benefits schemes in Uganda included; thinly scattered nature of informal sector workers; capital base, education level, awareness, trust, knowledge, lack of confidence, intermittent income streams. Recommendations to improve uptake of retirement benefits schemes by the informal sector in Uganda include; Transparency and accountability, making the process of benefits payments easier, flexible terms to members, partnerships with Universities, Banks, Churches. The study concludes that retirement benefits schemes’ (RBS) success or failure to cover the informal sector as well as make the current members satisfied is dependent on social, economic as well as legislative factors. To have an inclusive retirement benefits sector, the perceptions of the current members need to be well managed; positive interventions have to put in place to attract new members to join with minimal constraints. The trustees and supervisors of the retirement benefits schemes at policy level should consider having flexible terms to be provided to willing potential members. Sensitize potential members on financial literacy, provide monetary incentives to those already participating.