Members of Parliament have called upon the Government to consider reviewing the eligibility age for Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) programme beneficiaries, upwards to at least 75 years.
“Government should reduce the eligibility age from 80 to 75 years to allow more older persons to benefit from the SAGE programme,” said Flavia Kabahenda (Kyegegwa District Woman MP)
SAGE is a social protection development strategy that targets senior citizens of 65 years and above but is lowered in the case of more vulnerable areas like Karamoja region to 60 years to enable them access basic services and start income-generating activities.
Under the programme, Sh25, 000 per month is given to a qualifying senior citizen and a total of 123,000 senior citizens benefited during the pilot project that is being rolled out across the country in a phased manner.
Rolling out the SAGE programme in the entire country, the Government said, it would consider older persons aged 80 years and above because of a constrained resource envelope but Parliament wants the new target group reviewed to at least 75 years.
During the September 30, 2021, plenary session, Kabahenda also said that the eligible older persons have not received their money for the last six months and most of them are complaining about this delay.
“There is need to allow older persons to register with alternative identification documents because the Nationa Identification cards have become so discriminatory,” she said.
She noted that many older persons did not receive National IDs because their fingerprints were not recognizable by the biometric machines during National ID registration and thus those without these IDs are being left out.
This revelation was made in response to a statement made by the State Minister for Elderly, Dominic Gidudu Mafabi in preparation for celebrations to mark the International Day of Older Persons on October 1, 2021.
It was also noted that over 4,100 elderly persons who were supposed to benefit from the SAGE programme are to miss out due to challenges pertaining to the information on their National Identification Cards.
As a result, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) is overwhelmed by huge numbers of elderly persons scrambling to change their age details.