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Release funds for elderly persons, MPs tell govt

Ms. Flavia Kabahenda, the co-ordinator Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection. (PHOTO/FILE)

KAMPALA – The Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection has appealed to government to release the UGX7.1b of the Social Assistance Grants (SAGE) for the financial year ending 2018/2019, to enable the elderly persons meet their needs.

The coordinator of the Forum Ms. Flavia Kabahenda told the parliamentary Committee on Gender chaired by Mr. Alex Ndeezi that old persons have spent more than three months without getting money because the Ministry of Finance released only 11% of what it was supposed to release.

Several Members of Parliament (MPs) on the committee expressed fear that if the SAGE programme is not rolled out countrywide many of them are likely to lose their seats.

Bulisa Woman MP Nora Bigirwa said that if the programme is not rolled out it will worsen the situation as many of them are still struggling with the effects of supporting the presidential age limit.

The minister of Gender Ms. Janet Mukwaya told the Committee that her ministry requires more than UGX142b to roll out the programme but only UGX62b has been provided out of the UGX92b government is supposed to contribute in the coming financial year 2019/2020, yet the donors are ready with the UGX50b counterpart funding.

Last year, MPs tasked government to honour its obligation of a counterpart funding as agreed with the donors.

SAGE is part of government’s expanded social protection policy interventions aimed at an assured dignified social well fare to older persons. Paying UGX25, 000 per month, is implemented through the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

Partners committed £50m between 2010 and 2015. On its part, government provided support in kind plus additional funding of UGX2b in the financial year 2013/2014 and another UGX2b in the financial year 2014/2015.

The phase benefited Kyenjojo, Kyegegywa, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Apac, Kole, Katakwi, Kaberamaido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nebbi, Zombo and Yumbe districts.

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