The opposition members of parliament have urged the government to lower the eligibility age for elderly recipients of welfare payments from 80 to 65 years old and to enhance the funding while taking the economy into consideration.
The remarks were made during a meeting held in the Leader of Opposition’s Boardroom on Friday, September 29, 2023.
According to Rose Nantongo, the Shadow Minister for Labour, Gender, and Social Development, and also Woman MP Kyotera, the elderly person receives UGX 25,000 per month under the Umbrella Social Assistance Grants (SAGE), which is insufficient given the state of the economy.
“This money is actually too little, considering the economy and how society is moving very fast. As opposition, we are looking at increasing this amount of money,” Nantongo said.
She advised the government to carry out sensitization of new programmes, citing that most elders do not know about the Social Assistance Grant.
Additionally, she stated that the government should create a plan to provide homes for senior citizens so they can get medical treatment and other services.
“The elderly need a program for housing whereby they can receive medical care and have access to all the services that they need,” she added.
Hillary Innocent Kiyaga, the Shadow Minister for Arts and Culture said the government takes many months without paying the money, yet it is already little because of NIRA challenges.
“The government should speed up and update data for the elders so that they can utilize the opportunity,” Kiyaga said.
Joyce Bagala, Shadow Minister for Information, and Mityana Woman MP emphasize the government’s need to provide and build low-cost housing for the elderly. She also appreciated the Kabaka of Buganda, who has built several homes for the elderly in many parts of Buganda.
In the financial year 2020/2021, 528 elderly persons benefited from the SAGE. The SAGE program was implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development in 2012.