After eight weeks of inspiring stories and a 30-minute challenge with tough competition, the NSSF Friends with Benefits show came to a close last night with Harriet Balyama emerging winner and walking home with the Shs30 million top prize.
Patrick Lukula was first runner-up, and won shs15 million while Sylvia Enid Ntegeka took third position and redeemed shs10 million at the grand finale held at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The other five of the final eight that were shortlisted for the grand finale, as per public and judges’ vote, included; Ghad Atuhaire, Stephen Kayiizi, Edmond Mulondo, Ritah Arinaitwe, and Kemirembe Loyce Twesigire.
Mr. Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director, NSSF, said, “NSSF is optimistic the campaign has ignited conversations about the need for every single Ugandan, regardless of their background or salary level, to save and invest for a better life hence cultivating a savings and investment culture among Ugandans.”
“The success stories that have been showcased by the members who used their benefits well have motivated existing and potential members to invest in retirement savings and this has been shown by the feedback we have received on our various engagement platforms with the public,” he said.
Mr. Byarugaba added that the campaign has not only illustrated that NSSF pays but has also enlightened members on the decisions they need to make before receiving their retirement benefits from the Fund.
“Over the last 30 years, NSSF has paid over Shs1.1 trillion to 250,000 members who have claimed their benefits on retirement. This is a significant amount we have put into the economy of Uganda and is in line with the Funds’ commitment to deliver a better life to our members,” he said.
The series that also aired on TV featured profiles of 20 beneficiaries on how they used their NSSF benefits to transform their lives, and those of the communities around them, since October. In the final show, each of the eight contestants was tasked to give an overview on how they plan on utilizing the shs30 million grand cash prize if they win it.
A panel of judges that has been vetting the contestants comprised; Barbra Teddy Arimi (Head of Marketing & Communications, NSSF), Stevens Mwanje (Head of Sales and Operations, NSSF), Mabel Kiggundu (a human resource Specialist), Paul Busharizi (the contributing editor for business and politics at the New Vision).
The other partners for the campaign included PwC Uganda, Housing Finance Bank, FINCA Uganda, Post Bank and CBA Uganda.
Brief Bios of Top 3:
Harriet Balyama: She fell ill while working at Engender Health Uganda and later discovered she had a brain tumor that needed an emergency operation. She received her NSSF savings that she used to get the lifesaving operation and she is now on the road to full recovery. With the balance of her savings, she invested in rental units that she had started building while working. If she wins the competition, Harriet plans to complete the housing units to provide quality and affordable housing for people in her community.
Patrick Lukula: He received his Exempted Benefit when he joined Local Government and went on to buy land and constructed his dream home. He also used some of the savings to start sugarcane commercial farming and uses the proceeds to look after his family and complete their dream home. If he wins the shs30m prize, he dreams of setting up a private mini-hospital to serve his community.
Sylvia Enid Ntegeka: Dr Sylvia started saving while working at Bududa Hospital under SDS and later applied for her savings after joining public service. She invested her benefits in ginger growing which has now grown from 1 acre to 3 acres and she expects even further growth in her next harvest. Enid also used part of her benefits to renovate her mother’s house to make it more habitable. If she wins the Friends With Benefits competition, she will invest in value addition to further grow her ginger business and employ more people in her community.