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UK, Ireland withdraw elderly fund to Uganda

An Elderly receiving his Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) money during the International Women’s Day Celebrations in mbale on 10th March 2020 ( PHOTO /DAVID LUBOWA)

The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have announced an immediate suspension of the social assistance grants for empowerment scheme (SAGE) worth UGX 21 billion as they cite misallocation and mismanagement by the Ugandan authorities.

The elderly fund which has been benefiting all the elderly Ugandans above age 65 will be no more after the donors blame the government for having failed to implement as earlier expected.

In the investigations which were recently carried out, it was discovered that the Ugandan authorities last offered monetary assistance to the elderly groups in December 2020. Besides, even the amount that was being given to the vulnerable group was way below than what was budgeted for. Each elderly person is for instance given UGX 25,000 an equivalent of $6 which donors believe is not sufficient since it is even obtained at a monthly basis.

Besides, the programme was not well decentralised across the country as it only targeted specific districts limited to 130.

Minister of state for gender and culture, Peace Mutuuzo has appealed to the Finance Ministry to take over the programme now that foreign donors have withdrawn. “We are writing to the Ministry of Finance to bail out the elderly Ugandans. I hope parliament will be considerate and allow the money to be allocated,” she prayed. “We seek a much broader budget because what we had in the pipeline was really insufficient and could not sustain the livelihoods of the targeted groups,” she adds

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