President Museveni has responded to the older persons’ call that the age that qualifies an individual to be eligible for senior citizens’ grant should be lowered from 80 to 60 years.
While officiating the International day of older persons at State House Entebbe on Thursday, Museveni said that Government has had a lot to do since 1986 including recovering the economy, adding that although the economy has been recovering and growing, it was growing for a bigger population than the one of 1986 when NRM Government took power.
“When we closed schools, how many children did we send home? 15 million. In other words, the children now are more than the whole population of Uganda in 1986. In 1986, the whole population was 14 million. You have the task of economic recovery expanding it for more people. With all these, can we now move to the 60 years or we start with the 80? That is the issue. Let us first be there,” he said.
“You elders, you should be able to explain this to our people that it is not that we don’t want, I think 60 years is a logical age because that is the age you retire from the public service. It is a good starting point but can we manage it now together with the other things we are doing. Because we are not doing one thing. So, that is the issue, it will be done but we need to plan,” Museveni emphasized.
The senior citizens grant payment was officially rolled out nationwide earlier this year following the official launch by President Museveni in March 2020 in Mbale district.
“The senior citizens grant which supports the older persons from falling into deprivation. I congratulate them for such achievement and for patiently waiting for the program to expand until it covered the entire country. I appeal for the same patience. I have heard about the 60 years. I appeal for the same patience from older persons as Government mobilizes resources to consider lowering age of eligibility from 80 years to cover the entire population from 60 years. We cannot do it by miracle. For us we don’t do miracles, we struggle to get resources,” said Museveni.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development thorough the Expanding Social Protection (ESP) programme extends 25,000 shillings (twenty five thousand shillings only) per month to all elder persons above the age of 80 as a way of helping them with their basic needs.
Meanwhile Museveni expressed his gratitude that older persons will be represented in the 11th Parliament.
Recently, Parliament passed a legislation that increased the number of Special Interest Groups that have representation in Parliament by adding a category of older persons.
Some of the categories of Special Interest Groups that are represented in Parliament include, youths, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), the army (UPDF), workers, women and now, the older persons.
“I am glad that older persons will be represented in the 11th Parliament as a Special Interest Group. This representation of Special Interest Groups is premised on the principle of equal representation of all persons in Uganda that was ushered in the te NRM Government,” said Museveni.
He added that older persons will bring wisdom and vast experience to the August House to guide the young legislators.
“Older persons will also educate the young people especially the leaders about the importance of peace and stability in a country because they have passed through that phase,” Museveni added.