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Elderly spending SAGE cash on grandchildren’s education instead -Report

Disbursement of SAGE funds. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Elderly persons receiving the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment are mostly spending the money they are given to pay school fees for children under their care instead of using the funds to improve on their livelihoods.

The sad but commendable revelation was made during the launch of the 2019 Social Protection Sector Review in Kampala today.

Over 300,000 elderly persons aged 80 years and above in the country receive 25,000 shillings every month. The money ideally is meant to help the elderly access basic services and also to start income generating activities to help them.

However according to the review, instead of re-investing the money they receive, majority of the elderly are using it to pay schools fees and buy scholastic materials for their grandchildren. A few of them are investing the money.

James Ebitu, the director of social protection says this poses a threat to the well-being of these selfless souls at the end of the day.

According to the review, 40 percent of the money is spent on paying fees while the rest of the money is spent on health care, buying food and then whatever little that is left is re-invested. This they say can be as little as 10 percent or even less of what they receive. The most common investment is livestock.

Sarah Kanyike, the Minister of the Elderly and Disabled Persons at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development says the diversion of the funds needs to be addressed.

“We need to work with our counterparts in health and education to try and make sure that the elderly are not using the money given to better their lives instead to look after people,” she said.

Ebitu says they are planning on working with their counterparts in the other sectors to come up with solutions to address the issue. He says one of the things they might have to do is increase the funds allocated.



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