First and foremost, a minimum wage is about putting in place a basic social protection floor to guarantee a basic survival standard in a given society. The Constitution of Uganda provides that all Ugandans have a right to a life in dignity and a minimum wage is one of the instruments to ensure the realization of this right. According to the ILO, in 2005 slightly over 50 percent of waged and salaried workers in Uganda were poor with 30 percent living in extreme poverty (ILO, 2013).
Similarly, the 2009/10 labour market survey indicates that of the 24.5 percent of the population (7.5 million persons) living below the poverty line, about 2.7 million (21 percent) are classified as the “working poor”. These, according to the survey, earned a median monthly income of 50,000 Ugandan shilling (about USD 19) for casual labours close to their counterparts’ in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, who earned 54,000 Ugandan shilling (about USD 20). In both incidences, this monthly income is lower than the poverty line, which if computed using USD 1 a day amounts to USD 31 per month.