Cabinet has cleared payment of pension for former employees of the now defunct Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC).
According to Hon. Judith Nabakooba, the Minister for ICT and National guidance, this is good news because hundreds of Ugandans now in old age shall get their pension money and continue to live a dignified life even in retirement.
Prior to its divestiture in 1997, UPTC employees served under permanent and pensionable terms of employment and were entitled to pension.
However, during its divestiture in 1997/98 the employees who transferred services to the successor companies were given Pension Certificates to claim their pensions from the staff Pension Scheme, called Uganda Communications Employees Contributory Pension Scheme (UCECPS). Unfortunately, due to cash flow constraints, the money to pay such pensions was not available.
The successor companies so formed were; Uganda Post Limited (UPL, also called Posta Uganda), Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), Uganda Post Bank Limited and Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
In 2003 the employees were dissatisfied with the process of paying their pensioners and sued the successor companies in the High Court (Civil Suit No. 135 of 2003), seeking various remedies. The matter went on from High Court to the Court of Appeal, until final judgement was made in June 2018, instructing the successor companies to pay the staff pensions, costs and interest.
“It is important to state it here that the UPTC employees who transferred services to UCC and Post Bank were paid their pensions after the first judgement in the High Court, sometime around 2013. The amounts payable to the pensioners were in billions of shillings. The majority of UPTC employees had joined Posta and UTL, and the pensions payable were not affordable. For example, 337 employees were in Posta Uganda, and the amount payable is around Ugx77 billion” Nabakooba says.
She noted that it is for the above reasons that Posta Uganda brought this matter to the attention of my Ministry, seeking a solution to the problem. The Ministry presented the matter to Cabinet, and it has been approved for payment.
“I wish to emphasize that the Auditor General has issued notices inviting all former employees of UPTC to come to the nearest Post Office for verification. I urge all pensioners to respond to this invitation, and to bring along all documentation to prove their former employment with UPTC. Some of the pensioners are deceased, while others may be incapacitated and can’t travel. I urge the next of kin or other surviving (but eligible) members of the family to help get the verification done” she said.
Nabakooba further urged the public to inform any known former staff of UPTC about the verification exercise adding that once the verification exercise is completed, she will be informing the Country on the next course of action.