JIS News

Beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) will this month see an increase in their allowances under the scheme.
Senator Floyd Morris, State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security with special responsibility for the Programme, told JIS News in an interview, that the increases would see an additional $100 be added to the regular $300 that is paid to each person on the programme.
“Beneficiaries who are now collecting their monies at the post offices will seen an increase in their stipend because we have taken a decision to increase the stipend to each beneficiary,” the Minister said.
Addressing criticism that the amount being paid to beneficiaries was not enough, Senator Morris said: “One has to be reminded on a continuous basis that PATH is not to be construed as a replacement income but rather to be seen as a supplement given by the State because the State will not have sufficient resources where they give each family an income.”
He also argued that the cash payment made through the Programme was not the only thing that the State was providing to beneficiaries. He pointed out that students who were on the programme received exemption from paying tuition fees at the secondary level.
“To date, we have some 30,000 children who are benefiting from that, so there are other services that these PATH beneficiaries are receiving from the Government,” he said.
Turning to this year’s allocation for the Programme, Senator Morris noted that “the lion’s share” of the $1.1billion that has been allocated to PATH in the 2004/05 Estimates of Expenditure would be directed to the payments of beneficiaries on the programme. This, he said, represented an 88 per cent or $969 million of the allocation.
“More money is being paid out to the beneficiaries than previous occasions and this is one of the major objectives of the reform programme that the Government has implemented to ensure that less money is used for administrative expenses and more for the beneficiaries that the programme is intended,” the State Minister said.
The remaining portion of the allocation will go towards the strengthening of the Project’s Management Information System (MIS) to ensure that the programme can promptly respond to queries.
Additionally, the sum will also go toward the conduct of periodic Operational Audits to verify the targeting and compliance process and conducting training of the staff at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to improve institutional strengthening.
Now in its second year, PATH was established to support Government’s effort to transform its social programmes into a more efficient system of assistance to the poor and the vulnerable and to provide better and more cost-effective social assistance to the extreme poor.

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