GENDER MINISTRY MEETS PRIVATE, STATE ACTORS ON SOCIAL PROTECTION BILL
November 30, 2018 11:33 am
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has engaged private sector and state institutions for their inputs and support for the drafting and passage of the reviewed Social Protection Bill, 2018.
Representatives from the various private and state institutions were asked to suggest ways the private sector can support Social Protection interventions, state why certain provisions should not part of the bill and suggest ways by which access to social security and insurance especially for the informal sector can be increased.
Speaking at a stakeholders consultative meeting in Accra, the Director for Policy Planning and Monitoring & Evaluation (PPME), Mawutor Ablorh, on behalf of the Gender Minister said the common enemy as stakeholders in the delivery of social protection is poverty and vulnerability.
He noted that globally social protection has proven to be a reliable tool for addressing poverty, vulnerability and exclusion which Ghana has also adopted.
He added that the Bill when ratified into law will serve as the single most important legal document for the delivery of social protection in Ghana, as espoused in the National Social Protection Policy.
Mr. Ablorh indicated that the Ministry is seeking for comments and feedback on the revised Social Protection Bill submitted by the AG’s Department in order to effectively review and align the draft Bill to reflect provisions of the Social Protection policy.
“Therefore, you have been called here to share with us your rich experience in making the Social Protection Bill practical. Private Sector entities have contributed considerably to social protection in Ghana. We have also gathered here as interested stakeholders to deliberate and solicit views and ideas that would help deepen the depth of information for the drafting of the Social Protection Bill which will eventually become a law for the delivery of social protection,” he stated.
Mr. Ablorh indicated that the corporate organizations through their social responsibility schemes have provided social assistance, relief as well as basic social infrastructure to deprived communities. Small and informal operators have supported community causes as well as membership welfare.
“The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection appreciates your support and urges you not to relent in your efforts in supporting social protection delivery,” he stressed.
Mr. Ablorh noted that the Social Protection Policy highlights the need for the passage of the Social Protection Bill as the sector seeks to move away from disparate social protection related projects/interventions to a holistic and coordinated social protection programme status.
“It prescribes robust and effective institutional oversight, coordination and partnerships for sustainable implementation of Social Protection,” he stated.
Mr. Ablorh added that the third objective of the SP Bill focuses on increased and improved social security and social insurance for all Ghanaians.
According to him, the main reason for a pension scheme is to save for retirement, but as a social protection instrument, a scheme also offers benefits when one loses employment as a result of ill health, death or just wishes to take up other activities.
He posited that however, this is not available for many workers in the informal sector. They are left to their faith when they encounter the above-mentioned challenges.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will strengthen its collaboration with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to maintain the standard of living for retired workers in the informal and private sector,” Mr. Ablorh posited.
The Director of Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr. Rita Owusu-Amankwah said the role of the private sector and state enterprises in the implementation of social protection in Ghana is support social protection interventions throughout structured corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes and initiatives financially and in-kind.
She added that they assist the state in apprenticeships and employment schemes as well as provide inputs and products for social assistance.
Dr. Rita emphasized that they initiate social employment schemes for communities in which they operate; monitor the social protection policy from the private sector perspective and contribute to making a strong business case for social protection; support social infrastructural development to improve access of the poor and vulnerable; and engage in and promote decent work in their establishments.
Therefore, according to Dr. Rita, the essence of the consultation is to present and discuss the revised Social Protection Bill and to receive feedback from stakeholders to enable effective review and alignment of the Bill to the provisions of the SP policy.
She added that the platform will also be used to generate interest and lay a foundation for a support base to advocate for the passage of the Bill later on.
Dr. Rita indicated that there cannot be a Social Protection bill without an existing policy to give it impetus.
Just as the SP bill, she noted, extensive stakeholder consultations were done during the development of the Policy. The draft Policy document was submitted to Cabinet and approved in June 2016 and the SP Implementation Plan validated in December 2017.
Dr. Rita stressed that among the targets of the SP policy is to eradicate extreme poverty 2030 and further reduce by at least the proportionate of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by 2030.
Social Protection Bill Review Processes
The development of the SP Bill started in 2016 with a lot work has been done on it.
In January, 2018, a review was done by the Sub-Committee of the Social Protection Inter Sectoral Technical Committee (SPiSTC).
Recommendations made by the sub-committee during the review meeting were re-submitted on 5th March, 2018 to the AG’s department which they responded on 18th May, 2018.
The revised version of the draft Social Protection Bill was shared at the 4th session of the Social Protection Dialogue on May 22, 2018.
Similar review working session was organized on the 4th and 5th July, 2018, and it is upon that engagement and feedback from the AGs department that we have embarked on this SP Bill stakeholder consultations today.
Zonal consultations have been held with MMDAs as well as four Parliamentary Select Committees on this bill.