Flavia Rwabuhoro Kabahenda, the Kyegegwa District Woman MP has taken on the government for failing to put up a robust social security programme that takes into account the plight of all vulnerable Ugandans.

Kabahenda who is a founding member of the Parliamentary Forum of Social Security (UPFSS) was Friday morning addressing Journalists who cover Parliament. The Journalists are united under the Uganda Parliamentary Association (UPPA).

The engagement between the UPPA members and the UPFSS officials was aimed at bringing the journalists up to speed on the social security issues that need to be paid attention to when they are covering issues in Parliament.

Kabahenda who is the current  Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, said that the government has fallen short on mobilising Ugandans to at least revive the African traditional social security systems if it cannot manage to cater for all vulnerable people.

“As Africans and Ugandans we had a rich culture in social protection. When one family lost their dear one, the other people would carry food to help them but today, people will come to be supported by the family that has lost” she said.

She said that the government ought to support the communities to revive the installation of granaries to ensure food security in tough times, carry out neighbourhood watch in helping to upbring children and also the mentorship sessions that took place in homes.

Currently, the government is running a number of social security programmes that include the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP), the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) and the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) that target certain classes of people. 

Through these programmes, the government gives out money that is revolved among the people in groups benefiting from UWEP and YLP while it is a monthly retainer of Shs25000 for persons aged 80 and above under the SAGE programme.

But, MP Kabahenda argues that to sustain these programmes and achieve the set goals, the government needs to come up with one single registry to capture data of all Ugandans being born so that they are monitor in order to be enrolled in these programmes when their age permits.

“If we cannot even give a birth certificate to a child being born, how shall we be able to track their growth? We need to empower resilience which will help our people survive when we have a problem. If social protection grants were well managed, in future we would not want SAGE” Kabahenda added.

She attributed the public outcry on the current fuel crisis on the poor planning for social security by the government, adding that it will even become tough when motorists begin to incur another cost of paying road tolls while driving along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway. 

“Fuel prices are another Covid and starting January when the Katumba (Gen Wamala, Minister of Works and Transport) roads start collecting money, people will park their cars because there was no plan. What happened to the oil reserve tanks?” she asked.

UPFSS officials called upon the lawmakers to consider lowering the age for beneficiaries of SAGE from 80 to 65 years so that many senior citizens, especially those in rural areas can be assisted. 

They want overhauling of the Social Security Protection policy of 2015 as well as the speedy processing of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill that has so far been approved by Cabinet.

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