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SAGE fund: Thousands of elderly can’t access grant due to lack national IDs

Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | An estimated 54,559 persons aged 80 years and above cannot access the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) because they do not have National Identification Cards, according to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

Data from the gender ministry shows that 11,000 of the affected persons have never applied for a National ID and their names are not reflected in the National Identification Regulatory Authority (NIRA) data bank, while 43,559 had inconsistencies in their bio-data which makes it impossible for them to access the funds that are expected to improve their livelihoods.

Each elderly person above the age of 80 is supposed to get a monthly remittance of 25,000 Shillings which is sent to their bank accounts. However, due to lack of National IDs, the 54,559 affected elderly persons cannot open bank accounts where the money is sent.

The Minister of State for the Elderly, Dominic Mafabi Gidudu says the government is aware of this issue and is working towards addressing it. Mafabi told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday that they have decided to carry out a special registration exercise targeting the elderly so that this issue can be solved.

“Following discussions and consultations that have been going on, we agreed to undertake a remedial NIRA registration exercise specifically targeting elder persons to capture all those who had not registered for the National ID,” he said.

According to the minister, the exercise which began on Monday this week will take place for a few weeks. During the registration exercise, district local governments will carry out mobilisation of the elderly.

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