Approximately 37,000 persons have benefited from the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), since it was launched last year.
Opening the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 7, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, informed that not only did the programme have a positive impact on employment, but small and medium size contractors also benefitted tremendously from the over 950 projects which were executed.
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He reported that the second phase of JEEP, which started in October 2012, will be completed next month, when financing from the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) comes to an end.
“Under this segment, road works, support infrastructure and some community projects are being undertaken as well as construction and repair works to the drainage network in Kingston and St Andrew. With regard to the rehabilitation of the Sandy Gully Drainage Network, major contracts have been awarded,” the Minister said.
Dr. Davies pointed out that 383 housing units were constructed under the programme, in collaboration with Food for the Poor, for persons in St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas, who had lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy in October.
He said JEEP’s collaboration with Food for the Poor in constructing houses for indigent households islandwide, will continue. This programme had to be adjusted in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to focus on providing housing units for those persons who had lost their homes.
The Minister said another collaborative project among Food for the Poor, National Hosing Trust, the JEEP Secretariat and the housing arm of the Ministry involves the construction of concrete units.
In this project, Food for the Poor is contracted to construct concrete housing units (360 sq. ft.) annually for sale to NHT for the equivalent of US$9,500 per unit.
He explained that through this project, NHT will be able to make units available to contributors with a weekly income of between $5,000 and $7,500.
“There are plans to expand this project, as it represents an opportunity to respond to the needs of NHT contributors who have historically been denied access to units,” he said.
He informed that Phase I of JEEP consisted of projects involving construction of roadway support structures, culverts, drains, retaining walls.
“Work was based on the allocation of $12 million per constituency. That phase was successfully completed in September 2012,” he added.
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The Minister commended the Head of JEEP, Mrs. Lucille Brodber and her team for the work they have done since the project commenced.
Dr. Davies informed that JEEP was partially funded by the re-allocation of US$50 million from the JDIP project, and informed that additional funds were received from a grant from the PetroCaribe Fund to finance some special programmes – in particular the housing collaboration with Food for the Poor.
The JEEP is one of the strategies of the Government to respond to chronic unemployment among some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic groups, persons with special needs, as well as those with low skill levels.
Contact: Chris Patterson