The Government has set aside some $4.5 billion for activities under three critical projects being undertaken by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.
This is outlined in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
They are the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), for which some $1 billion has been allocated; Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), which has received a $2.23 billion injection; and $1.3 billion for the Grant to Road Maintenance Fund from Fuel Tax.
JEEP is one of the strategies that the Government has developed to respond to the chronic unemployment crisis facing some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic stratum, persons with special needs; those with low skill levels and those from under-served communities.
It is being implemented in phases up to 2013/14, with phase one commencing towards the end of financial year 2011/12. The $1 billion budget allocation, which is provided through the PetroCaribe Fund, includes $24.5 million for the administrative expenses of a secretariat, which has been set up to coordinate and monitor the programme.
The Grant to Road Maintenance Fund from Fuel Tax represents the portion of the Special Consumption Tax on fuel that will be used by the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF) to carry out infrastructure improvements across the island.
Meanwhile, the provision for JDIP will assist the RMF in meeting its counterpart obligation in relation to its loan with the China Ex-Im Bank. It includes $2.19 billion representing 15 per cent of the US$166 million projected expenditure under the programme as well as $40 million for a forensic audit that has been commissioned.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter