THE ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has unveiled forty new districts to receive Senior Citizens Grants in the next five years, starting with 20 districts this financial year.
The grants, an equivalent of sh25,000 per month given out in form of a bimonthly cash allowance is given to older persons above 65 years of age (60 years for Karamoja region) to enable them meet their personal needs.
The government has budgeted for sh149b for the 40 districts from 2015/16 financial year to 2019/20 commencing with 20 districts whose older persons will benefit from sh9b budgeted for this financial year. Payment for the first batch of 20 districts is expected to start in January 2016.
Government has been remitting allowances for 15 districts under the pilot project program since 2011, which will also continue receiving grants, bringing the number to a total of 55 districts on the program in a five-year period.
Development partners including the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and Irish Aid have also committed an additional sh290.6b towards sustaining the program in the pilot districts as well as support for institutional capacity building for its implementation.
Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, minister for general duties in the Office of the Prime Minister launched the program for the phased national rollout at an occasion to mark the International Day of Older Persons at Boma Grounds in Bundibugyo town, where he represented President Yoweri Museveni.
The districts to start receiving the grants in January include Bundibugyo, Kaabong, Abim, Kotido, Koboko, Kween, Pader, Agago, Lamwo, Gulu, Nakasongola, Amolatar, Pallisa, Amuria, Mayuge, Namayingo, Kamuli, Kisoro, Kayunga and Kibaale.
Five other districts including Kitgum, Nakaseke, Kabale, Bugiri and Amuru will be considered in the 2016/17 financial year, followed by Dokolo, Ssembabule, Kasese, Sheema and Mubende districts in the 2017/18 financial year.
Alebtong, Adjuman, Otuke, Moyo and Kumi will get in 2018/19 financial year and finally Nwoya, Arua, Mbale, Tororo and Kibuku to come on board in 2019/20.
Frank Kirwan, head of cooperation from the Irish embassy represented development partners and said they had provided £51m for the period ending December 2015, but they had also committed to adding £7m (sh240b) in the five years for the program.
The theme of the day was 'Social Protection for Older Persons; A Pre-requisite for Social Development'.
At the same occasion, hundreds of older persons turned up at a health camp sponsored by the Uganda Reach the Aged Association to receive treatment.
Ministers, Muruuli Mukasa for gender, labour and Social Development, Kamanda Bataringaya, state for labour and Industrial Relations and state for the elderly Sulaiman Madada attended the function.