Ssali: How Umeme Shares Proved Critics Wrong

approved geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>This follows payment to the Fund by UMEME of a dividend of more than 3.3 billion for this year.

The payment was witnessed Monday morning by UMEME’s MD Mr Charles Chapman and NSSF’s Acting MD Mrs Geraldine Ssali, at Workers’ House.

NSSF added another 100 million to its shares in UMEME last May, bringing its total shareholding to 231 million shares therein, making it the third largest institutional investor in the electricity company.

Today’s dividend payment now brings the Fund’s total yield from UMEME, to Shs 7 billion in only two years of investment.

“And with the share cost in the power company ever going up, even if government now decided that this was a bad concession and forced us to exit, I would still walk away with a capital gain of about Shs19 billion,” Ssali told reporters.


With such a huge payment, she said, the fund could now guarantee double digit returns to its members come next October, after previous failures to meet the promise due to several shortfalls.

Mrs Ssali said the record dividend had proven wrong critics who were initially opposed to the Fund’s investment in UMEME.

The Fund was accused of jumping the appropriate procedure, which mandated them to get first clearance from various government oversight bodies like the PPDA, Solicitor General, and the Executive among others.

She noted that, though the UMEME deal came at a time when the Line Minister, the Chairman, and Ag. Chairman was out of the country, somehow the Fund’s Sub Committee decided to go ahead with the concession, because cancelling it would have been expensive to government in terms of compensation.

“I think that the bigger picture here is that when a 4-trillion National Fund is trying to throw money around to get profits for its savers, there’s not always enough space, and such grand opportunists don’t come easy.

At the event, UMEME’s Chapman emphasized government’s obligation to ensure that its people have the opportunity to invest in big corporates, noting further that Utilities companies world over have become the best forms of investment.

He added that NSSF had been lucky to have invested in such a lucrative venture.

“If NSSF had been delayed by government, or decided not to go ahead with the concession, the offer would have been allocated to other bigger funds in South Africa of UK, and by now we would be having a interrogation as to why Ugandans were made to miss on lots of billions of revenue,” he said.

NSSF’s Geraldine called upon government to consider some flexibility in allowing the fund handle such profitable investments.

“The amendment of the NSSF Act for instance, would be much more welcome if our MPs thought of easing on our investment activity procedures so that members’ money can be turned around very easily.”

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