Speech By Ms. Jacqueline Mugo, Executive Director & CEO Federation Of Kenya Employers (FKE), During the 2023 Social Protection Conference

1. Your Excellency, President William Ruto, Honorable Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Members of the Diplomatic Community, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

2. All protocols observed

Good Morning

3. It is a great pleasure and honor to be part of this distinguished Conference. As a strategic partner on Social Protection matters. I am delighted because this Conference will directly impact the lives and livelihoods of many Kenyans.

4. Allow me to also take this opportunity to extend a very welcome and thanks to you Your Excellency Mr. President, for making time to join us today.

  1. Your presence is a demonstration of your personal commitment to Social Protection and its role in achieving the goals of the Government’s Manifesto.
  2. I am particularly pleased with this years’ Conference’s theme which is: “Accelerating Inclusive and Integrated Social Protection System in Kenya”. Furthermore, I am impressed by the overall objective of the conference which is to chart the way towards inclusion and expansion of social protection for all Kenyans. This goes a long way in guiding the sector to advance the social protection agenda with a view to ensuring increased coverage and access. Full implementation of the outcomes will strengthen coverage and adequacy of social protection in the country.
  3. A well-functioning, robust and Comprehensive social protection is key in transforming the lives and livelihoods of all Kenyans. I have keenly examined the Kenya Kwanza manifesto and I agree with the vision and aspirations contained therein. The challenge and the elephant in the Room, your Excellence is Financing. Just as the Government is struggling with the fiscal space to finance its development agenda, so are businesses. Any policy that claws away finances from businesses, if not introduced through a consultative and mutually agreeable approach kills our businesses. That is why we keep on calling on different levels of Government to meaningfully engage the employers when you are proposing any policy that has an implication on them. When we engage, we shall find a mutually agreeable win-win solution that moves our country forward.
  1. The employers have been part and parcel of the International Labour Conference that developed the ILO Convention 102 and Recommendation 202 that have provided standards for the establishment of Social Protection Systems. We remain committed to these international instruments and standards.
  2. Your Excellency, I acknowledge the work done by the Government in providing social assistance, even as we continue to discuss pensions. We look forward to supporting the Government to drive the development of policies geared towards implementation of the other 7 components of social protection.
  1. The biggest challenge we have is how are we going to finance the noble aspirations identified? Your excellency our position has remained that it has to be through a concerted effort of all the stakeholders. The previous administrations have failed because they tried to load the whole burden of financing social protection only to the formal employers and workers.
  2. The structure of our economy is such that only 15% of wage employment is in the formal sector. 84% is in the informal economy. Our approach to financing the social protection need to be relooked at. For example, we are not opposed to provision of Universal Maternity Income protection to women in Kenya, but who will finance it. Employers already finance Maternity Income Protection for Women Workers in the formal wage employment to 3 months of their income. This is in addition to the one month annual leave.
  3. The same goes for Health Insurance, Old age income protection, and housing among others. The employers are already providing for their workers. As we propose strategies, we should appreciate what is already there and build on it.
  4. Your Excellency, the Employers ask for a conducive Business Environment that will unleash and accelerate creation of wealth and adequate job opportunities for our people. If we get majority of our people in high quality formal jobs, establishment of a robust and sustainable social protection system will be an easy job.
  5. Lastly your excellency, I want to reiterate our commitment to working you’re your government towards a successful, adequate and sustainable social protection system that leaves no one behind. Your Excellency Mr. President 15. The participation of social partners, as well as other key stakeholders in decision-making process is essential to voice their priorities and concerns and to constructively contribute to the formulation of social protection policies. 16. Employers contribute to the financing of public programs directly (through social insurance contributions) and indirectly (through taxes). Taking part in national dialogue on social protection, employers can contribute to shaping social protection policies that respond to the evolving needs and capacities of workers and enterprises. It is therefore important that representatives of those who are a part of the solution are involved in the system because they will help to ensure that what is put in place is appropriate and sustainable.
  1. Conclusion

Your Excellency Mr. President, I wish to sincerely thank the Government for convening this Social Protection Conference. We hope that this marks the beginning of many engagements aimed at enhancing social protection and wealth for Kenyans.

What we must do now is rise to the occasion, work together better than we have ever done before through social dialogue as we endeavor to ensure that every Kenyan has access to healthcare.

The Social Protection Conference will indeed go a long way in guiding the sector to advance the social protection agenda with a view to ensuring increased coverage and access as we aim to give every Kenyan access to Comprehensive Social Protection and affordable health care.

As the Federation we are looking forward for a brighter future with the implementation of sustainable social protection policies that facilitate business growth in our nation.

God Bless our government. God Bless our social partners.

God Bless Kenya

Asante Sana! Ms. Jaqueline Mugo Executive Director & CEO Federation of Kenya Employers

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