Uganda hosts regional conference on social security

Uganda hosts regional conference on social security
Okurut (2nd L), other officials cutting a cake to mark 10 years of ECASSA’s existence at Serena Hotel on Nov. 23. Photo by Julius Businge.

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Uganda is hosting a two day conference for the East and Central Africa Social Security Association (ECASSA) Policy Makers Conference to devise ways of improving social security coverage in the region.

The conference started on Nov. 23 at the Kampala Serena Hotel. It was officially opened by the Minister of General Duties in Office of the Prime Minister, Karooro Mary Okurut and attracted over 70 representatives of social security funds within the East and Central Africa region.

NSSF Uganda Managing Director Richard Byarugaba, who takes over the chairmanship of the regional body for the next one year, said that although strides have been made to improve social security landscape, the region is still faced with a myriad of challenges which require concerted effort from respective governments.

The conference comes at a time Uganda is lamenting about liberalizing the pension sector to break NSSF Uganda monopoly and to put in place necessary reforms to unlock the sector’s fortunes.

“Most of the member states have introduced some form of social protection or have social security as a strategic priority but low coverage remains a major challenge,” Byarugaba said.

Byarugaba said one of the key issues to discuss is how to make informal sector become part of the pension sector as a way of accelerating savings in the country.

He added that participants will share experiences and opportunities and make recommendations to relevant authorities to make necessary legal changes to spur growth of the sector in the region.

The conference is held annually on a rotational basis in the region.

It aims at providing a platform for its members and policy makers to address social security challenges and seek better ways to promote social security development.

The conference is being held under the theme; “Transforming Social Security: From Theory to Practice” and has attracted participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

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