Government through the State Minister for Gender, look Labor and Social Development, check Peace Mutuuzo has Thursday revealed that due to limited resources, there are intentions to review the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment program (SAGE) to cater for only the most vulnerable elderly.
Launched in 2010, the program targets people above 65 years in forty districts across the country where each elderly is entitled to Shs. 25000 per month.
Government has been selecting 100 beneficiaries at every sub- county which the legislators are opposing saying the program has to benefit all elders countrywide starting with this financial year.
The program has been allocated Shs17.59bn instead of the requested Shs29bn by the line Minister of Gender.
Addressing the media at Parliament, the Minister noted that the program is facing financial challenges and that every financial year government fails to fully fund it hence leaving some beneficiaries out.
Mutuuzo said that government is considering a number of proposals which among others include targeting only the elderly above 85 years in just 40 districts.
“Like recently when we celebrated the National Elderly Day, the most elderly person was 103; so we shall begin from there down wards and where our money stops that is where we shall stop,” Mutuuzo said.
“We have a number of options we are looking at, for now we are discussing with our development partners to take the most suitable option of all; we should be mindful that in case the development partners are no longer supporting us, we can sustain the number of people that we would have rolled on to the program,”
Minister Mutuuzo added that due to the review that is already embarked on, the program will not enroll more new districts as planned for the next financial year; to give government time to fully plan for countrywide enrollment in the years to come.
However, later in day, Parliament resolved to have the program rolled out nationally within the 2017/ 2018 financial year after a heated debate.