JIS News

For the 2009/10 financial year, a total of $2.5 billion was disbursed to Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) beneficiaries.
As contained in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s 2009/10 annual report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently, the largest number of individuals benefiting from PATH disbursements occurred in the fourth cycle (September to October 2009), when 323,898 persons received payments amounting to $484.94 million.
“A total of 693 PATH students received the post secondary one-off payment (grant) of $15,000. The grants were disbursed from October 2009 to March 2010. The majority of students who received the grants were from the parishes of Kingston and
St. Andrew, Clarendon and Manchester. An evaluation of the post secondary ayment is being conducted to determine the demographic characteristics of the students who received the grants; the operational procedures relating to disbursement of the grants; and how the grants were used by the students,” the document states.
The report notes that one of the main objectives of PATH is the development of human capital. As a result, the Programme emphasises the importance of complying with the education and health conditionalities attached to the benefits. Compliance rates for both education and health beneficiaries for the period March to April, May to June and September to October 2009 averaged 85 to 90 per cent, but fell to 83 per cent in the last two payment cycles.
Achievements of the programme during the 2009/10 period included: the launch of a new Beneficiary Management Information System (BMIS) in October 2009, which allows the user base to enter live transactions and view compliance and payment history; decentralisation of its operational procedures to improve the efficiency of its operations, such as the processing of applications and the updating of beneficiary profiles, among other capabilities.
Other achievements included: a grant of $15,000 paid to 693 students who were registered in post secondary institutions. Grants disbursed from October 2009 to March 2010 totalled $10.395 million; approximately 85 per cent of the 34,406 households selected for intervention were successfully re-certified; performance audit was conducted in April 2009.
The report states that strategies are being put in place to further enhance the capabilities of the programme during the 2010/11 financial year. Some of these include: developing and strengthening the databases of vulnerable groups and welfare beneficiaries by identifying vulnerable groups and specific needs. This will be facilitated by the development of a national register of persons benefiting from social welfare; reaching 262,301 children and 97,699 adult beneficiaries each quarter; providing differential benefits to 196,000 recipients each quarter and providing bonus payments to 4,000 students.
There will also be a reassessment of PATH households to determine their eligibility for continued payment by PATH; the undertaking of at least 78 public education and awareness campaigns through various media channels; promotion of economic self-sufficiency through the implementation of the ‘Steps to Work’ programme for poor households; increasing beneficiaries access to business support services, such as consultations provided by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC); and assisting persons who have experienced some form of misfortune that interrupts income.
The PATH is a conditional cash transfer programme. It provides money to persons in poor households contingent on them making investments in their children’s human capital through school attendance and the regular use of preventive health care services. PATH is a vital component of the Social Safety Net and steps have been made to constantly improve its efficiency.

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