Bunyoro Informal Workers Urged to Save for Retirement

L-R: Hoima Resident City Commissioner, Mr Badru Mugabi; URBRA Chairman, Mr Julius Bigirwa Junjura (standing); Director URBRA, Mr David Mutebi; Bunyoro Kitara Diocese Bishop, the Rt Rev Samuel Kahuma Abwoli. (Image: Joseph Uzelle/Kazi-njema)

Mr. Julius Bigirwa Junjura, Chairman of the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), is urging individuals employed in the informal sector in Bunyoro to consider establishing alternative saving strategies to safeguard their financial stability during retirement.

It has been observed that many people operating outside the formal sector often struggle during retirement due to inadequate savings. This situation arises from a lack of clarity regarding available saving options, rather than a lack of opportunities.

Mr. Junjura points out the presence of newly established Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations/Societies (Saccos) and various tangible investment opportunities across different sectors of the economy that can generate consistent income, even for those unable to work from home.

He emphasizes the importance of diversifying through practices such as cultivating perennial crops like cocoa, livestock farming (particularly cattle rearing, poultry, and beekeeping), and other lucrative investments for securing future financial stability.

Mr. Junjura calls on traditional, religious, and political leaders in the region to collaborate with URBRA to raise awareness among individuals in the informal sector – including motorcycle taxi riders (boda-bodas), small-scale farmers, and food vendors – about the importance of planning for retirement through structured savings.

He encourages local leaders in Bunyoro to guide communities in utilizing available opportunities that will shift their focus from excessive spending to prioritizing savings, thereby creating a more secure retirement plan.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of saving culture among workers in the informal sector, unlike their counterparts in the formal sector who contribute to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

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URBRA is partnering with Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and Bunyoro Kitara Diocese to spread the message of saving for retirement through various platforms, ensuring that people are informed about the importance of securing their future financial well-being.

Mr. Andrew Byakutaaga, the Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, highlights that alcoholism often becomes a coping mechanism for stress during retirement, exacerbating financial struggles. He emphasizes the significance of proactive retirement planning as a way to alleviate future financial challenges.

Mr. Byakutaga calls for extensive community awareness campaigns through various media channels to encourage people to adopt the practice of saving for their retirement, paving the way for a more secure future.

Bishop Rt Rev Samuel Kahuma Abwoli of Bunyoro Kitara Diocese (Anglican) acknowledges that low earnings in the informal sector hinder many from saving for retirement. However, he suggests initiatives like coffee and mango farming to supplement their financial resources in old age.

Mr. Badru Mugabi, the Hoima Resident City Commissioner, stresses the importance for employers to organize their employees into various saving schemes, ensuring their well-being after retirement. This sentiment was shared during URBRA’s mobilization efforts in Hoima.

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