KAMPALA — The government has increased the number of elders to benefit from the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) from the initial 167,000 to 220,000.
Managing Director, Post Bank Uganda, Mr. Julius Kakeeto whose bank is in charge of disbursing SAGE to elders in Uganda confirmed the development during the launch of SAGE and Women’s Day celebrations in Mbale Municipality, on Sunday.
According to Mr. Kakeeto, the program has been operating in 67 districts and with the addition of 14 districts to the SAGE initiative, the figure of beneficiaries goes to 220,000 covering 81 districts in Uganda. “We have been paying 167,000 elderly through our network of 44 branches and mobile vans. With the mobile vans we can reach parishes, the elderly do not have to move long distances to find service points for retrieving their funds.”
“Post Bank is proud to be part of a key government program like SAGE because it touches lives and livelihoods for the better,” he said.
President Yoweri Museveni, launched SAGE in Eastern Uganda, at Malukhu Grounds.
Mr Museveni said that aside from government initiatives like Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) intended to economically empower women, they have gone ahead to assist older persons in various districts by extending initiatives like SAGE to improve their livelihood.
He also urged men against beating their wives, giving himself as an example saying, “I have been married to Janet [Kataha Museveni] for 49 years but I have even never pushed her.”
SAGE was started in 2016 as an initiative to reduce poverty amongst the elderly who have a low productivity and can barely go to work. The program aims to benefit elderly persons who are 80 years and above.
They are entitled to receive UGX25,000 per month after registering with the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) and acquiring a valid national identification card.
Mr. Kakeeto also added that after MGLSD has provided them with data of the beneficiaries, the bank goes ahead to enroll these beneficiaries, capture their photos and biometrics.
This process then makes it easier to pay money to the right person and avoid risk of fraud.
Members of Parliament on Tuesday March 1 tasked Government to expeditiously roll out the SAGE across all districts.
Ntenjeru South Member of Parliament Fred Baseke raised a matter of national importance saying despite the launch of the national roll out of the program, the 142 billion shillings set aside is not sufficient to pay all the beneficiaries countrywide.
In response, the State Minister for Gender and Culture Peace Mutuuzo said there is funding available for the SAGE program but there are preparations being made; and once completed the national rollout will begin with paying arrears of the previous months starting with January 2020.