Karamoja. Government has so far spent Shs44 billion to pay 27,110 senior citizens under its Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) in Karamoja Sub-region since the programme’s initiation in 2010.
Mr Joseph Basoga, the programme’s communications officer, told Daily Monitor recently that government will commit another Shs59b in the next financial year to cover the country.
“Already, Parliament has passed unanimous recommendations that beginning next year, SAGE should roll out in the whole country covering all elderly persons of 80 years and above,” he said.
Mr Basoga, however, said the recommendations will not affect those already on the programme.
Government has also increased the age for the beneficiaries from the current 65 years to 80. Each elderly person receives Shs25,000 monthly.
Mr Joseph Lomonyang, the Napak District chairperson, said the grant has improved the lives of the elderly in the sub-region.
“We are very happy with government for this grant because most elders, who were at the verge of dying due to lack of basic needs, have become strong,” he said.
Mr Francis Kiyonga, the Amudat District chairperson, appealed to government to increase the pay.
“We appreciate what government pays the senior citizens, but it is little. My appeal is that let this money be increased so that these beneficiaries can invest wisely,” he said.
Ms Betty Nangiro, a resident of Kotido District, said the proceeds have enabled her start an income-generating project and even save.