NRM members of parliament convening for their caucus retreat at National leadership institute in Kyankwanzi are to push for a national roll out of senior citizens grants (SAGE) programme.
By Nelson Kiva
KYANKWANZI - NRM members of parliament convening for their caucus retreat at National leadership institute in Kyankwanzi are to push for a national roll out of senior citizens grants (SAGE) programme.
On their way to Kyankwanzi on Saturday, the over 50 members of parliament, led by the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on gender, labour and social development, Magrate Komuhangi, visited SAGE MTN pay points and homes of beneficiaries in Kyankwanzi district.
This was in Gayaza sub-county and Butemba town council.
Efranse Bukirwa leaving her kitchen to attend to MPs and journalists who visted her.
Komuhangi, who is also the Nakasongola woman member of parliament, explained that they requested the ministry of gender, labour and social development to organize a visit for them on their way to Kyankwanzi in order to familiarize themselves with the way the programme works, its impacts so as to enable them develop a strategy to support the national roll out of the programme while at the retreat.
“The programme benefiting only 15 districts out of 112 was a small margin and yet older persons across the country faced similar challenges”, she said.
The pilot phase programme benefiting districts include, Kyegegwa, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Kyankwanzi, Apac, Kole, Katakwi, Kaberamaido, Napak, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nebbi, Zombo and Yumbe.
It is covering 6,028 villages in the 141 sub-counties with 110,000 direct beneficiaries as of today.
The chairperson of the parliamentary SAGE forum, Flavia Kabahenda, said that members of parliament from the programme none benefiting districts were under pressure from older persons to have the programme extended to them.
The chairperson of Buganda parliamentary caucus, Moses Kiwanda, disclosed that he was ready to mobilize his team at the retreat to force government to improvise at least Shs35 billion additional funds needed to roll out the programme to the entire country.
The director of social protection in the ministry of gender, labour and social development, Fred Onduri, explained that the ministry has written to government asking for Shs34 billion additional funds in order to roll out the programme to entire country.
He said the target is to have 100 older persons benefit in the programme in every sub-county a number which would increase with funding.
The head of SAGE secretariat, Stephen Kasaija, said the programme was recording tremendous success in all the 15 districts with limited implementation challenges being witnessed in other government programmes.
Efrance Bukirwa in his 90s, resident of Butemba ward in Butemba town council Kyankwanzi district, disclosed that is now able to buy sugar, salt, soap, a match box and eat meat all because of Shs25, 000 monthly allowances from SAGE.
MPs to push for national roll out of SAGE programme