Members of Parliament have appealed to the Executive to top the Shs 29bn needed for the national rollout of money given monthly to the elderly.
The legislators on the committee of Gender in their report to the whole house on Thursday stated that the government has only provided Shs 62.8bn of the required Shs 92bn to rollout Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) in the whole country.
“The committee recommends that the Government provides the required additional 29.2 billion for the national rollout of Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment scheme with effect from financial year 2O19/2O2O. Without the 29.2 billion shillings the programme risks failure to roll out nationally,” said part of the report.
The committee noted that although the Cabinet and Parliament agreed in principle for a national rollout, these funds have not been fully availed.
The government of Uganda is expected to earmark Shs 92.38bn for SAGE and Shs 50bn is donation from the development partners. However, the government has only allocated Shs 62.88bn instead of Shs 92bn leaving out a shortfall of Shs 29.38bn.
SAGE is currently in 47 districts and MPs have been advocating for the national rollout since 2015.
The committed led by Alex Ndezi (disability MP) noted that SAGE has registered positive results and the benefits should also reach other areas.
“The Committee observed that given the positive impact of social assistance grant for empowerment on the livelihoods of older persons, there has been public demand to have the programme rolled out to all districts in the country,” noted the report.
The Committee was informed by Ministry of Gender officials that a national rollout plan had been developed and approved by Cabinet to consider older persons aged 60 years for the case of Karamoja, 65+ to currently enrolled SAGE beneficiaries and 80+ for the rest of the country while maintaining the existing beneficiaries.
The national rollout plan is expected to cover a total of 1,048,598 older persons and this requires a funding of UGX 149.00bn in the FY 2Ol9l2O2O.
It should be recalled that the House was assured by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that the national rollout of the SAGE program shall commence in the FY 2019/202O. Four Resolutions were consequently passed by the Parliament, all assuring that there shall be, in one form or another, a national roll out of SAGE.