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MPs want funding for special interest groups doubled

By Paul Kiwuuwa

Added 8th August 2018 03:50 PM

The committee also wants to first truck the national roll out for of the older persons under the Social Assistance Grant For Empowerment (SAGE) programme.

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The committee also wants to first truck the national roll out for of the older persons under the Social Assistance Grant For Empowerment (SAGE) programme.

FUNDING

KAMPALA - Legislators on the Parliament committee of Gender Labour and Social Development (GLSD) want government to increase funding for special interest groups from sh7b to sh15b annually.

The query was raised by MPs in their first meeting for the second session at Parliament  that funds are allocated to beneficially Special Interest Groups(SIG) such as the disabled, older persons, women and youth councils, to follow up government programmes, administration and mobilisations to local governments is insufficient.

The gender committee chairperson, Alex Ndeezi, who doubles as MP for People with Disabilities (PWDs central) lamented  that in the financial year 2017/2018 the finance ministry allocated sh7.6b to carter for 126 districts countrywide.

“This in effect does not cause any impact on the social well being of the interest groups and defeats the split of decentralisation,” Ndeezi said.

Referring to the 2017/2018  approved budget for SIG Ndeezi said the youth Council is allocated sh1.08m, women council received sh580m, functional adult literacy got sh1.5m, disability council received sh320m, community rehabilitation got sh400m, community development was given sh399m, while district libraries received sh300m.

Ndeezi said sh320m allocated to the council for disability is insufficient to care for a population of  over four million PWDS in Uganda, who include two million with physical disability, one million who are deaf, two million with visual impairments,  8,000 albinos and 1,500 Little People of Uganda (LPUs) who are marginalised.

The Kyegegwa woman MP, Stella Kiiza highlighted that Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Fund and Youth Livelihood Fund are government funded programmes funded under the initiative meant to curb poverty and the high rates of youth unemployment among  poor youth and women.

While the S I G funds are for  monitoring government programmes, mobilisation through holding meetings, carter for transport refund and sensitisation of the masses in local government.

Kiiza explained that the SIG funds are appropriated by Parliament to the special interest groups through the ministry of Gender to carter the groups at local government.

The committee also wants to first truck the national roll out for of the older persons under the Social Assistance Grant For Empowerment (SAGE) programme.

The SAGE scheme implemented under the Expanding Social Protection Programme (ESPP) under  the Ministry of Gender, government provides monthly grants of sh25,000 to older persons (65 years and above, 60 years in the case of Karamoja) to enable them access basic services and start income generating activities. The Programme has been piloted since 2010 in 15 districts.

“Some MPS  are proposing that the beneficially age for older persons should be increased  to over 70 years to enable a national roll out” Ndeezi proposed.

Last month, Stephen Kasaija, the head of Social Protection Programme Management Unit, ministry of Gender  at the launch of the Social Protection Gender and Equity Strategy (SPGES) at Protea Hotel Kampala, said a total of 12,200 more elderly persons have  been approved to benefit from SAGE programme starting this financial year.

This brings the number of beneficiaries to 165,200 countrywide. The number of districts benefiting from the program has also been increased from 47 to 57.

SAGE program has been operating in 47 districts including 10 districts being sponsored by development partners serving 153,000 beneficiaries.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women  (UN Women ), UK Aid (from the British people) Irish Aid (department of Foreign Affairs)  are the co funders to the government  of the SAGE programme.

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