After year-long efforts, Uganda’s National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) celebrated, on 4 January 2022, the approval of a bill with amendments to the country’s national social security fund. This new legislation will contribute to improving the lives of all workers, including those active in the informal economy.
The new bill brings important changes in the functioning of social protection in Uganda, including the removal of previous restrictions to workers’ access to pension schemes. In Uganda, workers contribute savings for their old age pensions, with additional contributions from their employers. However, only workers with formal contracts and employed by businesses with more than five workers were eligible to access the pension schemes, effectively leaving out of the system the vast number of workers who were working in the informal economy (i.e., nine out of ten). Now, individual contributions to NSSF, including from workers in the informal economy, are allowed.
The bill is a victory for the trade unions, who since 2014 have continued to work hard to have it passed. Although the bill has been rejected by parliament several times, NOTU has maintained close contact with President Museveni, who has been directly involved in adjusting the bill for the final adoption by parliament.