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.