By Jumah Kakomo
Approximately 54,559 older persons above 80 years have missed out on benefiting from social protection Programme through which government provides a monthly UGX 25,000/= to the people in that category.
Between 2010-2015, the senior citizens grant was piloted in 15 districts and following the success of the pilot, in November 2015, government approved a phased roll out of the senior citizens grant scheme from 15 to an additional 40 districts, in the past 5 years starting FY 2015/16, as a foundation for establishing a National social protection system for the country.
This phased roll out increased demand for the programme from older persons across the country. In November 2018, government responded to this demand, and announced the national roll out of the senior citizens grant, to all the 136 districts in the country, starting with older persons who are 80 years and above, with the idea of lowering the age over time, and the programme is currently reaching 332,793 older persons in all districts across the country.
Now the state minister for gender, Labor, and social development in charge of elderly affairs, Gidudu Mafwaabi Domic says, the above reason has forced the government to come up with an exercise of the joint arrangements that was agreed upon with the ministry of internal affairs, through National Identification registration Authority (NIRA), to ensure that older persons who have hitherto not registered for the national IDs, are supported to do so, and therefore enable them to access government programmes like SAGE, which require them to have the National IDs.
He adds that, an assessment undertaken by the ministry of Gender, labor and social development shows that these two national ID related challenges have affected about 54,559 older persons hence excluding them from receiving the senior citizens grant. Of these 11,000 have not registered with NIRA, while the other 43,559 are registered but have wrong details on their ID.
Gilbert Kadilo, manager public relations and corporate affairs (NIRA) says, registration were done at district level, and during the initial stage of the Programme, many older persons provided wrong information thus rallying them to go with more knowledgeable people about them this time around to avoid making the same mistake.
“We want the most knowledgeable people to come with older persons to get accurate data, and we shall go to their homes for registration to those who cannot move long distances” .Gilbert added.