Government is working assiduously to improve the lives of Jamaicans who continue to struggle financially, while it seeks to take care of its most vulnerable citizens, says Governor-General, His Excellency the Most. Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
He pointed out that the economic recession, downturn in business and loss of jobs have resulted in an increase in the number of people falling below the poverty line. “Despite the financial constraints, we have sought to protect the most vulnerable,” he added.
The Governor-General was delivering the Throne Speech, at the State Opening of Parliament, today (April 14), marking the start of the new financial year, which began on April 1.
He noted that in the last three years, the government has increased its expenditure on social safety net programmes. This has seen a 139 per cent increase in the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and a 290 per cent increase in the school feeding programme.
Since the abolition of user fees in 2008, the government has also spent more than $8 billion in providing drugs and medical supplies to meet the increased demand for services at public facilities.
The Governor-General said that despite the many achievements, the government is acutely aware of the many needs that still required its attention.
These include the repair of roads; improving the conditions of schools and health facilities; the supply of water to communities that still does not enjoy the basic amenity; better wages for public sector workers and improved pensions for those who have retired.
The theme of the Throne Speech was: ‘From Stabilisation to Growth’.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS