Govt to Create Central Database For Elderly People

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In short
Under the enrolment exercise that kicked off this year, the ministry through its Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment SAGE, all elderly persons will have their details stored in a central data bank, to ease the ministrys payment of a monthly stipend.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has embarked on a countrywide registration of all elderly persons.

Under the enrolment exercise that kicked off this year, the ministry through its Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE), all elderly persons will have their details stored in a central data bank, to ease the ministry's payment of a monthly stipend.
 
The SAGE programme, that includes the Senior Citizens Grant (SCG) and Vulnerable Families Grant (VFG), started in 2011 in 15 pilot districts. It has now been expanded to include 40 more districts phased out over the next five years.  

Under SCG, beneficiaries aged 65 years and above receive a monthly stipend of 25,000 Shillings and under the VFG vulnerable families like those headed by children are supported with basic needs.

David Lambert Tumwesigye, policy officer SAGE says the ministry is coordinating with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) to run the database and be able to reach the intended beneficiaries without a hitch.   
 
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The programme currently benefits 127, 523 elderly persons, with over 226,000 old people in 55 districts expected to benefit from the programme in the next five years.
 
The programme has however come under scrutiny from several quarters, including MPs on the Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection.
 
Several legislators, while speaking at the re-launch of the forum at Parliament today, complained of discrimination of some elderly persons as beneficiaries.
 
Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga says the central database should include all persons above 60 years to automatically benefit from the SAGE programme.
 
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Bernard Atiku, Ayivu County MP, says the programme should be spread to all districts, given that there are fewer elderly persons, since at least 60 percent of the population is composed of youths.
 
Flavia Kabahenda, forum chairperson, however says government should come clear on the criteria used to select beneficiary districts.
 
Starting this financial year, the programme will now be handled directly by the gender ministry. Stephen Kasaija, the head of Expanding Social Protection Programme (ESPP), says a Project Management Unit (PMU) has been established to run the programme.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.