Madina Mwagale Gulooba

How Inclusive Is Ugandaʿs Social Protection Legal and Policy Framework In Relation To the Informal Economy?

Uganda has demonstrated commitment to social protection through the enactment of various laws, policies and programs. Nonetheless, gaps still exist especially with regards to inclusion of the informal economy. These are informal sector blind or neutral. Most of the laws and policies are enforceable and applicable to the formal sector with similar nuances noted in the programmes. This policy brief therefore recommends extension or adjustment of the existing programs, policies and mechanisms to the informal economy; flexibility on the size and timing of the contributions; and undertaking a detailed impact evaluation of existing social protection initiatives to inform future planning and programming.

Social protection1 is recognised as critical for sustained poverty reduction, inclusive growth and social cohesion (GoU 2015). In this regard, through the National Social Protection Policy 2015 Uganda has demonstrated its commitment and obligations towards addressing the vulnerable population. Despite the policy being in place for five years now, programme interventions addressing various forms of vulnerabilities are limited. Consequently, vulnerability remains high as suggested by a reversal in poverty levels from 19.7 percent in 2012/13 to 21.4 percent in 2016/17 (UBoS 2017). The most affected with income poverty shocks are persons in the informal economy where various legal and policy provisions are less likely to be enforced. Evidence shows that the informal economy contributed about 52 percent of real GDP in 2018/19 (UBOS, 2019) and employed about 9.1 million Ugandans. Specifically, the informal absorbed more than 85 percent of persons outside agriculture alone (UBoS 2018) of which 91 percent are youth and 86 are females. In this regard, the informal economy is growing and generating wage and self-employment opportunities in unregistered micro and small enterprises.


This brief specifically examines the level of inclusiveness of the legal and policy framework for social protection with specific focus on the informal sector in Uganda. The brief is an extract from Guloba and Ntale (2019) “Social Protection for the Informal Sector in Uganda: A review of laws and policies” paper developed with financial support from the Rights Based Social Protection Project, FES-Zambia.

How inclusive is Ugandaʿs social protection legal and policy framework in relation to the informal economy?

Guloba, Madina Mwagale

How inclusive is Ugandaʿs social protection legal and policy framework in relation to the informal economy?

Lusaka, 2020

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