Government Fails To Honour Funding For Elderly

Government was supposed to provide 500,500,000 for the 2012/2013 but has only given 40 million shillings.
Government of Uganda has failed to honour its commitment to fund social protection for the elderly. Government was supposed to provide 500,500,000 shillings for the 2012/2013 but has only given 40 million shillings.

Now civil society organisationsare concerned that without the finances, government will relegate it obligations on the donors. Some civil society organisationsunder the umbrella organization, Uganda Social Protection Platform (USSP) have written to the President and Speaker of parliament to intervene.

The platform wants parliament to direct government to earmark resources towards SAGE program, and asked Museveni to direct ministry of Finance to honour the Joint Financial Agreement.

Alfred Nuwamanya, from the NGO forum, is also concerned that government has not provided funds for the roll out of the social protection for the elderly in more districts. Currently the program runs in only 14 Districts.

According to the ministerial Policy Statement for Ministry of Gender, Government had proposed to have 35 billion shillings be provided for additional 24 districts. But Nuwamanya notes that no provision has been made to start the national scale up in the financial year 2012/13. If the 35 billion shillings is provided an additional 228,000 senior citizens would get out of poverty.

According to statistics in the Uganda National Housing Survey 2009/2010, there are 1.3 million older persons. Without such facilities, Nuwamanya fears that many older persons will be left helpless.

In January 2011, government signed an agreement a joint Financing Agreement (JFA) with the development partners for International Development (UK-AID) Irish AID and UNICEF. The partners committed to provide 41million Euros over five years. Government on the other hand was to provide 35,714 Euros in 2011/12 budget. This obligation was fully met last year. Another 143,000Euros in 2012/13 and 540,800 Euros in the 2013/14 budget was to be provided by government. In 2014/15 financial year government would provide 1.3 million Euros.

The Ministry of Gender is implementing the social assistance grants for empowerment (SAGE) program which aims to provide monthly direct income support of 23, 000 shillings to 95,000 poor and vulnerable households in 14 districts.

Flavia Rwabuhoro, the chairperson parliamentary forum on social protection says that parliament will need to act in order to see the ministry provide the missing funds. She says Ministry of Gender needs to cut down on certain items in their budget like training and purchase of vehicles to get the required resources. Rabuhoro is equally concerned that the money to expand the project has not featured in the budget.

The Ministry of Gender Officials will return to parliament this week to explain how they intend to raise the money.