Gov’t Planning to Increase Monthly Stipend for Elders

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The State Minister for Disability and Elderly, Sarah Kanyike has said that they intend to raise the monthly payment for older persons under the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment-SAGE programme.

In 2011, the government first piloted the programme in the 15 districts, where older persons above 65 years were enrolled. Two years later the government rolled out the scheme across the country and raised the minimum age to 80 years. Each of the qualified older people has been getting a monthly payment of 25,000 Shillings.

During her monitoring visit to Katakwi District on Thursday, Kanyike said the ministry’s technical team is developing a cabinet paper to be discussed in the cabinet on how to reduce the age of beneficiaries.

Kanyike also said the ministry is also revising the monthly payment of elders to about 100,000 Shillings because of the high cost of living.

Kanyike’s revelation follows complaints from the older persons and their leaders in Katakwi district that the government should consider reducing the age from 80 to 65 years and also increase the monthly payment from 25,000 Shillings to over 50,000 Shillings. 

Walter Elakas Okiring, the Katakwi LCV Chairperson said although SAGE has helped the district recover from the post-war effects, many older persons don’t live beyond 80 years due to the recent wars and persistent Karimojong incursions in the district.

Mary Philomena Akol Amuge, the female councillor for older persons said Katakwi deserves special consideration by reducing the age of those to benefit from SAGE because most of them are dying between 50 and 70 years due to the recent wars and persistent Karamojong incursions.

Celestica Alungat, 68, an elder in Magoro Sub County said 25,000 Shillings will not address the problems affecting the elders especially diseases related to old age and even educating their children.  

Wilson Olimoro, the District Chairperson of Older Persons Council was concerned that some older persons who are said to have died are denied payment although they appear on the payment centres.  He is worried about the rate the older persons above 67 years are dying in his area. 

Stephen Phillip Opio, the Senior Community Development Officer Katakwi said since the inception of the program in Katakwi in 2011, the district has received up to the tune of 23 Billion Shillings supporting 7,833 older persons out of which 4,913 are females and 2,920 males.

Stephen Kasaija, the head of Expanding Social Protection programme said it’s not possible to pay pensioners under SAGE because all this money comes from consolidated funds.

Sam Acodu, the SAGE operations coordinator told families to fill forms and produce minutes for the next of kin to use for getting payment in case an older person dies.


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