Social Protection Floor in Uganda: A Policy Consultative Report

The Social Protection Floor (SPF) is a nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees derived from human rights treaties, including access to essential services (such as health, education, housing, water and sanitation, and others, as defined nationally) and social transfers, in cash or in kind, to guarantee income security, food security, adequate nutrition and access to essential services. For the case of Uganda, a social protection floor should cover all categories of the population defined as vulnerable. These include very young children, older persons, persons with disabilities, the unemployed youth, as well as those with chronic illness such as HIV & AIDS; taking consideration of issues of gender and ethnic minorities. The UN Chief Executive Board for Coordination (CEB) supported by its High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) adopted the Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPFI) as one of its nine joint crisis initiatives to cope with the recent financial and economic crisis. The SPF concept has become widely recognised and accepted at various international, regional and national conferences since 2009 including the G20 and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit and was passed as a UN recommendation in June 2012. Investing in a SPF promotes social justice and economic development. Social security represents an investment in a country’s human resource, which is as important as investing in its physical infrastructure. Social protection schemes, therefore, are important tools to reduce poverty and inequality among a country’s population. They do not only help individuals and their families to get out of poverty, but also contribute to economic growth and development by raising labour productivity and enhancing social stability. They act as automatic economic stabilisers as seen during the recent global economic meltdown. Uganda has made some progress towards achieving some of the SP basic guarantees, such as cash transfers given to the elderly and vulnerable households through the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) programme under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). However, there is still need to enhance and streamline many of these interventions and have them integrated in the country’s overall development policies and programmes. This report provides an analysis of SPF issues generated during consultations with key policy actors and stakeholders. The analysis focuses on their understanding of the SPF initiative in Uganda and its relevance to the on-going policy debate.