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  •  Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, is reporting a significant decline in the rate of poverty in Jamaica.
  • The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) released the results as part of the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, conducted annually by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, capturing data on the living conditions of Jamaicans.
  •   Dr. Clarke pointed out that the fall in poverty is consistent with rising employment, low inflation, the sharp jump in agricultural output of 12 per cent in 2016 relative to 2015, and increase in social protection.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, is reporting a significant decline in the rate of poverty in Jamaica.

In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday (May 22), Dr. Clarke said that poverty fell by four percentage points from 21.1 per cent for calendar year 2015 to 17.1 per cent for 2016.

This represents a 19 per cent drop in the incidence of poverty, the largest annual reduction in 10 years.

“The rate of poverty in 2016 was, therefore, the lowest since 2009,” he noted.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) released the results as part of the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, conducted annually by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, capturing data on the living conditions of Jamaicans.

The figures show that rural poverty declined from 28.5 per cent in calendar year 2015 to 20.5 per cent in calendar year 2016, a fall of eight percentage points, which represents a 30 per cent drop in the incidence of rural poverty.

The Finance Minister said in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, poverty declined from 14.3 per cent to 11.9 per cent, representing a 17 per cent fall in the incidence of poverty.

He noted, however, that for other towns, disaggregated data showed that there was an increase in the proportion of individuals in poverty from 14.7 per cent to 16 per cent.

“That is an indicator of the general imbalance in the distribution of growth and development that is possible and points to the need for direct targeting to reach all vulnerable groups,” he said.

Dr. Clarke pointed out that the fall in poverty is consistent with rising employment, low inflation, the sharp jump in agricultural output of 12 per cent in 2016 relative to 2015, and increase in social protection.

“The unemployment rate has been falling steadily from a high mid-teens in 2013 to 9.6 per cent in January 2018,” he noted.

He said that the Government is serious about reducing poverty through its focus on job creation and having increased the allocation to school feeding through the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) by 47 per cent.

“This emphasised the need to reprioritise spending away from compensation and interest, which together comprise 70 per cent of total spending towards poverty alleviation, social assistance and growth-inducing activities,” he said.