Elderly persons in Uganda have appealed to the government to lower the beneficiary age for the senior citizens’ grant that will be rolled out in March this year.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, while marking the International Day for elderly in Kumi District last year, announced the rollout of a national scheme to pay all elderly persons above 80 years Shs25,000 monthly.
This was increased from 65 years as has been the case for the 61 districts that were earlier benefiting from government’s Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) programme.
John Orach the Northern region representative on the National council for older person, says only a small of a percentage of the elderly is 80 and above meaning, many will be left out.
Over Shs32b has been set aside by the government to implement the national roll-out, which is said to benefit at least 35,000 elderly persons throughout the country.
However, Rev Joram Tibasiima, the national chairperson of the Elders Forum, faulted the government for raising the age of pay, saying it is discriminatory to the newly enrolled districts.
“This is a clear expression that government is looking at older persons as a spent force, as we look at how hard life is for older persons in villages, waiting up to 80 years to benefit is simply mockery,” Rev Tibasiima said.