Inclusive investment in social protection is key in minimizing poverty: Experts
The Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection (UPFSP) together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), UNICEF, and other partners has held a special national dialogue on social protection with the aim of exploring ways to enhance investment in social protection that the experts say plays a critical role in addressing poverty, inequality, and vulnerability in Uganda.
Experts during the dialogue held on 31st October 2023 at Hotel Africana have spotted light on The Social Security program that they say is financed through deductions of funds from the employee's wages, employers, government taxes, profits on pension funds, personal insurance, private savings, and wealth accumulation, development partners among other sources.
The Chief Guest at the dialogue Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga highlighted that though there are government programs addressing social protection, there is a need for regular and sustainable funding through a comprehensive system committed to addressing vulnerability.
“I appreciate the government for working on social protection to make it come to reality as fronted by the 10th parliament. Social protection funding should be sustainable and regular, and we need to look at Climate Change as we discuss social protection, which only excavates the existing vulnerabilities” she said
Hon. Flavia Kabahenda Rwabuhoro. The Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection (UPFSP) said that there is a need to have programs that are strategic for Social Protection in a multisectoral manner to address all the vulnerable people even when they are not poor.
“There are people who are not poor but are vulnerable so social protection is meant to protect people from vulnerability. People cannot just run out of poverty but also survive vulnerability” she said
Pro Ezra Suruma Key note speaker at the dialogue
The Keynote speaker Prof. Ezra Suruma launched the Girls Empowering Girls (GEG) and handed over some IT equipment for the Single Registry to be used in refugee hosting communities to facilitate data collection in the 36 districts including Computers, Laptops, photocopiers, TV screens, Software firewalls, and Tablets.
He said that the biggest social protection challenge is unemployment and that a government system that fails to attain employment for the majority of citizens needs to be replaced as a failed state.
“The first priority of social protection is income or employment in the world. In any advanced economy, the number that matters most is the rate of employment to that of unemployment” - Prof. Ezra Suruma.
Joan Babirye one of the beneficiaries Urban Social Protection Programme at The Girls-Empowering-Girls initiative led by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) shared the benefits she has earned from the programme.
Mohamed Munir. A Safieldin, Country Director, UNICEF Uganda said “We need equity in Uganda where some of the people who enjoy exorbitant benefits at the expense of others can forego them so that the money can be channeled to social protection.”
Ms. Angella Nabwowe The Executive Director of Institute of Social and Economic Rights (ISER) said that the right to social security is an entitlement to all people irrespective of age.
She added that “Social protection is key to securing a range of human rights inclusive social security, an adequate standard of living, health, education, and others. it is good to dialogue around state obligations & rights of citizens. These public goods should be financed through progressive taxation”
Social Protection stakeholders take a group photo with Prof Suruma who closed the dialogue