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Gov’t introduces special grant for older persons aged 60-79 years

An old woman counts her money received through the SAGE programme. FILE PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has announced a five billion Shillings grant for elderly persons aged 60 to 79 years who are not beneficiaries of the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) program. The new grant will target 1,896,190 people.

This was revealed by Minister of State for Elderly Affairs, Dominic Mafwabi Gidudu while addressing journalists at the Media Center on Wednesday.

Gidudu said that the grant will target eldery persons who are out of business yet are still productive.

Charles Isabirye, the Chairperson of the National Council for older persons in Uganda said that older persons can access the grant in groups of 5 to 10 people and each group will be given five million shillings which they can channel into ventures like farming, poultry and others.

He also said that the groups have to come up with the concept of what they want to do and then make an application for funding which will be verified from the village up to the district level.

According to Isabirye, officials from the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development together with the  Community Development Officers (CDOs) will be monitoring the groups to make sure that the funds are properly put to use.

Sight Akatukunda, the communications officer SAGE program under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said that the ministry is expecting to reduce the age at which older persons can get the SAGE funds and also increase the amount of money.

She also said that parliament endorsed the request to reduce the age and also increase the funds but only the ministry is waiting for the pronouncement from the government.

In 2010, the government started the SAGE program that supports older persons above the age of 80 to enable them to meet some basic needs. Each beneficiary is entitled to 25,000 shillings each month.

According to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, there are 2.2 million older persons and only 303,810 are benefiting from the SAGE program.

On Saturday, Uganda will join the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day for Older Persons. The national celebrations will be held in Nebbi district.

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