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Minister Consults On Proposed SAGE Age Reduction

At first 65-year-olds and above were receiving the funds monthly but effective July 1 last year, it was raised to 80 years to enable the programme roll out to the rest of the districts in Uganda. Exempted from the age raise was Karamoja region because of the Affirmative Action.
The State minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs Sarah Kanyike. Photo by Roman Ogole

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The State minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs Sarah Kanyike is in Katakwi district of Teso region for consultations over the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment -SAGE proposed age reduction from 80 years for beneficiaries.

  The SAGE scheme under the ministry of gender, Labour and Social Development is a social welfare programme launched in the financial year 2011/2012 and piloted in the first 15 districts including Katakwi, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Kaberamaido, Apac, Kole, Nebbi, Zombo, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Yumbe and Kayenjojo before it eventually got rolled out to all 146 districts nationwide.

 

Every month, 25,000 Shillings is given to everyone age 80 years and above, with the aim of benefitting the elderly who lack stable sources of income, family support structures and live below the poverty line.

At first  65-year-olds and above were receiving the funds monthly but effective July 1 last year, it was raised to 80 years to enable the programme roll out to the rest of the districts in Uganda. Exempted from the age raise was Karamoja region because of the Affirmative Action.

According to the minister Kanyike, the current cut-off age was raised due to limited budget  by the government because it was heavily dependent on donors when it covered only pilot districts, however the ministry had kept on receiving complaints because a big population of vulnerable elderly had been left out of SAGE benefits.

“Concerns of a cut-off age of 80 years is a national outcry, but as a government we are coming up with an answer as soon as possible and that is the reason I am in Katakwi today,” said Kanyike.

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The minister said that Senior Citizen Grant have without doubt been positively impacted in the lives by the SAGE benefits, which is evident in areas of access to service like education, health, food and nutrition.

At national level to date a total of 304,555 older persons (179,750 females, 124,805 males) are benefitting from the programme.

In Katakwi district alone, the programme since implemented in 2011/2012 has benefited a total of 11,471(4,588 males and 6,883 female) older person, with over UGX 23billion used. 

Katakwi is one of the districts where poverty levels are high  with its elderly population being hit hard, lacking basic life needs.

Charles Omome, an elder of 60 years in Getom Sub County in Katakwi district says the government should reduce the cut-of age to at least 55 years to accommodate more older persons.

Omome is accusing government for being unkind to the aging population.

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