The Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labor and Social Development has recommended for a national rollout of the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) scheme with effect from the Financial Year 2019/2020.
SAGE is a scheme where Senior Citizens in the country from the age of 65 years are each given a sum of Shs 25,000. The number of the current beneficiaries is at 123,000 older persons in 58 districts.
The call to roll out the scheme countrywide was tabled by the Committee chairperson and PWD representative, Alex Ndeezi.
Ndeezi noted that the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, Objective VII states that “the State shall make reasonable provision for the welfare and maintenance of the aged.”
He said that the age of the beneficiaries should thus be changed from 65 years to 80 years which will make the scheme easier to be rolled out across the country.
The committee however noted that current beneficiaries who are 65 years and above and those who are 60 years and above in Karamoja region in 58 benefiting districts will continue receiving these funds.
Responding to the recommendations, the Minister of State for Planning and Economic Development, David Bahati welcomed the proposal to roll out the scheme and promised that government will look into it.
“The logical thing is to maintain the 65 but roll it out in a phased manner. But if we come here with that proposal but together decide to take this as our priority visa vis other priorities, then we take up that decision which will be taken at the budgeting time,” the Minister said.
“In principle, we agree with rolling out and fast tracking the roll out given the age limit that Parliament is talking about”.
The pilot districts for SAGE are; Kyenjonjo, Kyegegwa, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Apac, Kole, Katakwi, Kaberamaido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nebbi, Zombo and Yumbe.
The elderly (those above age 60) make up 3.7% of Uganda’s total population, according to the 2014 national population census. The same census put life expectancy in Uganda at 63 from 54 in 2002.