NYARUGENGE - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, has called on African’s to improve social security coverage if sustainable development is to be achieved.
“Social Security is a fundamental right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although it is not always accorded its due importance,” Makuza noted.
The Premier was speaking at the opening of the first regional International Social Security Association (ISSA) forum held at Kigali, Serena hotel.
He said that only 20 percent of the world’s population has access to adequate social security, while Rwanda, has a low coverage of 10 percent.
“This calls for reforms,” he advised.
Makuza continued that the efforts of Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSR) should not be underestimated.
”In Rwanda, social security is increasingly being recognised for both its role in poverty alleviation and economic growth,” he said, adding, “However, there is need to find ways of extending social protection in order to attain socio-economic development.”
Makuza explained that in order to curb the current problems identified in the field of social security, the government has considered the strengthening of the social security policy by integrating the specifics of the informal economy and the implementation of health care insurance schemes in rural areas.
According to James Musoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, limited social security coverage is due to the view that the service is a means of providing post-retirement incomes, nothing more, and nothing less.
He noted the need to consider the diverse social security needs of the African people while relating them to socio-economic development trends and the designing of strategies that address those needs.
“It is also necessary to continuously monitor the performance of social security schemes, evaluate their sustainability and take appropriate measures before falling into actuarial imbalances and financial disequilibria,” he observed.
However, Henry Gaperi, the SSR Director General, said that the national social security institution is restructuring policies to cover the informal sector. He added that the regional ISSA forum would find solutions to some of the challenges in African social security.
The forum attracted African social security institutions and stakeholders from the region and beyond. It was organised by ISSA in collaboration with SSR.
ISSA is the world’s leading international organisation bringing together national social security administrations and agencies.
It has 350 member organisations in more than 150 countries, with the aim of promoting social security at the international level, by actively campaigning for social security worldwide, in order to advance people’s social and economic conditions on the basis of social justice.
Gaperi explained that the forum is a clear manifestation that the concept of the Social Security right as envisaged by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has become a reality.