National News Press

Minister Amongi Urges Elderly to Utilize Government Programs.

Hon. Betty Amongi, the minister for Gender, Labor, and Social Development, has called on elderly individuals who are not enrolled in the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) program to consider alternative government initiatives.

During a monitoring visit in Lira City, Hon. Amongi acknowledged the challenges faced in implementing the Senior Citizens’ Grant program, also known as SAGE Money.

The Senior Citizens’ Grant program was introduced nationwide by the Ugandan government in November 2018 with the aim of providing financial assistance to elderly individuals aged 80 years and above across all 135 districts in Uganda. Eligible recipients were promised a total sum of UGX 75,000, distributed over three months, provided they were registered with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and possessed valid national IDs.

However, recent discussions between Hon. Amongi and elderly leaders in Lira City have revealed significant implementation challenges. One major issue is the limited number of beneficiaries within the targeted age group.

As a result, Hon. Amongi encourages elders who are not enrolled in the SAGE program to explore alternative government initiatives such as Emyooga, Parish Development Module (PDM), and Special Enterprise Grant for Older Persons (SEGOP). The SEGOP specifically targets individuals aged 60 to 79 years.

During her visit, Hon. Amongi engaged with elderly leaders and recognized the need to enhance coordination and mobilization efforts, which have hampered the effectiveness of the SAGE program despite numerous difficulties.

Gilbert Omedi, the focal point person for persons with disabilities and older persons, emphasizes the necessity of addressing challenges and providing capacity building for the beneficiaries noting this will ensure that elderly individuals can fully benefit from the program’s support.

Richard Max Okello Orik, the Lira District Chairperson, calls for a reconsideration of the age criteria for eligibility. “…many elderly citizens pass away before reaching the targeted age, depriving them of the benefits they are entitled to, ….adjusting the age requirements will enable more elderly individuals to access the program’s benefits… Okello Orik noted.

In response to these concerns, Hon. Betty Amongi stresses the importance of raising awareness in communities about the Senior Citizens’ Grant program. She noted the efforts should be made to inform eligible individuals about the program and guide them on how to access its benefits.

As of June 2023, Lira City has recorded a cumulative count of 929 beneficiaries under the Senior Citizens’ Grant program. Currently, 844 recipients are actively receiving support in Lira City.

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