By Steven Enatu
The Deputy Resident City commissioner Soroti City West, James Small Chemutai has implored the elderly persons across Teso region to embrace government initiatives aimed at transforming their household incomes.
He was stressing this while speaking to leaders of elderly persons across the Teso Sub Region who were gathered at Soroti city hall to discuss and assess the different government programs targeting elderly persons on Friday 24th November, 2023.
Some of these programs are the special enterprise grant for the older persons (SEGOP), Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) and PDM among others. In attendance was the state Minister in-charge of elderly affairs, Hon Dominic Mafwabi Gidudu.
SEGOP is a grant that is given to older persons depending on the population of elderly persons in a district. Each year, the government allocates Shs5billion under this program.
Since 1986, the President has been rolling out different programs to empower the communities in Uganda with the last two vehicles to drive out poverty in Uganda now being Emyooga and PDM.
“I want to appreciate His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda for doing his best in a bid to appreciate the social, economic transformation sectors of Uganda,” Chemutai said.
While quoting exodus chapter 3 verses 5, Chemutai warned the older persons in Teso against people who may come lying to them that the President has done nothing.
“Many will come and say the President is only giving people money to thank them for voting for him. The President has constructed roads, health infrastructure and so many things. When they come, remind them of that chapter and verse that they remove their shoes because they are standing on holy ground,” he said.
He appreciated the minister for the elderly for organizing such a meeting to assess the progress of government tailored programs for the elderly and to hear from the beneficiaries themselves.
During the meeting, several concerns were raised by the leaders of elderly persons across Teso. Among these is the demand for increment of SAGE money from 25,000shs to 75,000shs.
The elders also asked the Minster to arrange for them a special meeting with His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda.
While responding to the concerns, Minister Gidudu said the concerns shall be addressed.
“Government recognizes elderly persons and I can see that they have woken up. There is that element of inclusiveness,” he said.
Eastern Uganda has a total of 440,000 older persons known by Uganda Bureau of Statistics and close to 60,000 found in Teso Sub Region.