Government has rolled out an enrollment project for elderly persons across the country to benefit from the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) programme.
Under the SAGE programme, the Senior Citizens Grant caters for elderly persons above 65 years and in Karamoja 60 years, who are paid Ugx 25,000 every month by government. At least 127,000 elderly persons are receiving the stipend from government in the 35 benefiting districts.
The Policy officer at SAGE, under the Ministry of Gender, David Tumwesigye says that due to the inadequate information on statistics of elderly persons in different communities, the registration will help government get accurate data and plan accordingly when extending the programme to the whole country.
Tumwesigye says while the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) is responsible for the registration of persons, SAGE wants to create its own database for the elderly for proper monitoring of the programme.
He was speaking at the re-launch of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection, chaired by former Kyegegwa Woman MP, Flavia Kabahenda on Friday 7th October 2016.
During the meeting, a section of MPs expressed concern over the implementation of the programme. Bukoto West MP, Abdul Kitatta tasked government to also formulate a programme where on top of receiving monthly stipend, the elderly can access free social services such as medical care.
Janet Okori Moe, Abim Woman MP, asked government to monitor the payment of the stipend, noting that access to it is a problem for those living in hard to reach areas. Santa Alum, Oyam Woman MP, suggested that the age of accessing the elderly stipend should be increased from 60 to 80 years, stating that the latter require the funds more, given their advanced age.
Lillian Adong, Nwoya Woman MP, lamented that in her district, some of the beneficiaries, particularly men are wasting the money on alcohol and promiscuity. She suggested that more sensitization is done by the ministry on use of the money.