Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Government will be expanding the provision of cash grants under the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).
  • The enhanced benefits, to be facilitated through a $6 billion (US$50 million) loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in support of Jamaica’s Social Protection Strategy, will assist the most vulnerable and needy in the society, particularly children and pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • The loan agreement was one of two signed by the Government on Wednesday, November 25 with the IDB.

Government will be expanding the provision of cash grants under the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).

The enhanced benefits, to be facilitated through a $6 billion (US$50 million) loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in support of Jamaica’s Social Protection Strategy, will assist the most vulnerable and needy in the society, particularly children and pregnant and lactating mothers.

The loan agreement was one of two signed by the Government on Wednesday, November 25 with the IDB. The other loan support, valued at $3 billion (US$25 million) is for the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP).

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, in his remarks at the signing ceremony at his National Heroes Circle offices on November 25, said the loan provided for PATH, will also go towards strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, which administers the conditional cash transfer programme.

Other components are : to enhance the services of PATH to support parenting programmes; design  new payment systems; improve the financial and operational administration of the programme; modernise the social security services provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security;  and recruit personnel to strengthen the project’s administration and evaluation.

Meanwhile, the loan support for the ESTP is the final of three programmatic policy-based loans (PBL) with the IDB.

ESTP is designed to improve standards of performance and ensure greater accountability at all levels of the education system.

This tranche of the programme supports the modernisation of the management structures of the Ministry of Education, improvements to be undertaken to curriculum, teaching and learning and school management, and the building of stakeholder relationships with the communities in which the beneficiary schools are located.

Dr. Phillips expressed appreciation to the IDB for the support of the two programmes, which total some US$75 million.

He said it is essential to note that even within in the context of a strict economic reform programme, the Government has sought to maintain focus on the reform of social policy.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, also expressed gratitude for the programme of support to the ESTP, noting that the funding will lead to the achievement of objectives in the short-term.

“We want to use the social component of this loan to really enhance the strength of our parents and their engagement in school. The issue of behaviour modification is (also) high on our agenda and part of the next phase of educational transformation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in his remarks, said he is mindful that social protection must be at the core of Jamaica’s development.

“My Ministry is committed to the development process. In our fierce drive to implement, we will remain fixed on the targets and our outcomes; that of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and creating welfare-to-work opportunities,” he said.

IDB Country Representative, Theresa Turner-Jones, hailed the Government of Jamaica for being a willing and collaborative partner over the years.

“It s a relationship that’s been going on for 45 years and we enjoy that partnership…and we are already seeing that the work we are doing is making a difference,” she said.

Minister of Health, Hon. Horace Dalley, was also present at the signing ceremony.