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Expanding Social Protection Programme II: 2015-2020

The Expanding Social Protection Programme is currently transitioning from Phase I to Phase II. In Phase I (2010-2015), the Government of Uganda, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID/UKAID), Irish Aid and UNICEF piloted a social grant, the Senior Citizens Grants, in 15 districts around the country. These were: Amudat, Apac, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kiboga, Kole, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Nebbi, Yumbe and Zombo.

In August 2015, following the successful implementation of the pilot, the Government of Uganda announced a phased national rollout of the Senior Citizens Grants, starting with 40 new districts over the next 5 years. Under the plan an additional 20 districts were to be added onto the Programme starting with 20 new districts in Financial Year (FY) 2015/16. Subsequently five new districts were to be added every year until 2019/20, as follows:

  • FY 2015/16: Kaabong, Abim, Kotido, Koboko, Gulu, Pader, Agago, Lamwo, Amolatar, Pallisa, Amuria, Kween, Namayingo, Mayuge, Kamuli, Kayunga, Nakasongola, Kibaale, Kisoro and Bundibugyo.
  • FY2016/17: Kitgum, Nakaseke, Kabale, Bugiri, and Amuru.
  • FY 2017/18: Dokolo, Sembabule, Kasese, Sheema and Mubende.
  • FY2018/19: Alebtong, Adjumani, Otuke, Moyo and Kumi.
  • FY 2019/20: Nwoya, Arua, Mbale, Tororo and Kibuku.

Although this roll out wasn’t completed (currently stopping in FY 2016/17), the ESP Programme currently reaches 47 districts- including 7 new ones- Omoro, Rukiga, Rubanda, Kakumiro, Kagadi, Butebo and Pakwach- that have been curved out of some old districts.

However, owing to overwhelming demand in all districts, the Parliament of Uganda in 2017 passed a resolution to roll out the grants to all districts in the country. The Cabinet also made a similar decision. Consultations are within government on how best the national rollout can practically be done, cognisant of government fiscal constraints. In the meantime, the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development is proceeding with the implementation of the roll out as agreed in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding with UKAID and Irish Aid.

ESP II Funding

To fund Phase II, and to enable the roll out according to the Plan, the Government of Uganda agreed to make available UGX149 billion over 5 years (2015-2020). The development partners- DFID/UKAID and Irish Aid on their committed to providing GBP 67.8 million (equivalent to Ushs 329.7 billion) over the 5 years (2015-20) towards the second phase of the Expanding Social Protection Programme.

The funding from development partners will specifically go to funding the grants for the 14 pilot districts until 2020, while the Government of Uganda gradually takes over their funding. It will also go towards operating costs associated with national roll-out and to building capacity for social protection policy implementation and institutional development.

Under ESP II, a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the development partners and the Government of Uganda (Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development).

Under ESPII, the Programme will also have some structural changes:

  • In ESP I, the Programme maintained district offices, under ESP II; the Programme introduced regional centres (Regional Technical Support Units-RTSU); which will technically support a number of districts in the regions.
  • The Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development and the Fund Manager, Maxwell Stamp Plc recruited a new Payment Service Provider- Post Bank Uganda after they came out as the best evaluated, of a competitive bidding process. This therefore means that the mode of Payment of the grants changed from MTN Mobile Money (used in Phase I) to PostBank Uganda (in Phase II).

ESP II is fundamentally different from ESP I in a number of respects:

  • In ESP II, the Programme enrols only the 100 oldest beneficiaries in each sub-county of the selected districts. In ESP I, all eligible beneficiaries in all sub counties in the pilot districts were enrolled on the Programme as long as they were 65 years (or 60 in the case of Karamoja districts) and above. However, under ESP II all current beneficiaries in the pilot districts will continue to be covered by the grants.
  • The Programme will exclude older persons with government-funded pensions from the Senior Citizens Grants, since they already draw a pension from the consolidated fund