KINGSTON — The Government will continue to target poverty alleviation in the new fiscal year, including an allocation of $2.8 billion in 2011/12 Budget to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), an agency of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), to undertake a number of projects.
The Inner-City Basic Services project (ICBSP) has been allotted the lion’s share of $525 million, while the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF 5) sub-project is to receive $222.6 million; the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF 6) sub-project, $450 million; and the Poverty Reduction Programme, $353.6 million.
The Rural Economic Development Initiative is to receive $280 million; the Community Crime and Violence Prevention programme, $101. 9 million; Tropical Storm Gustav activities, $145 million; the Community Investment Project, $386.8 million; and the Hurricane Dean project, $81.3 million.
The funds will be used to manage JSIF’s portfolio of 242 projects, valued at approximately US$30 million under the ICBSP. These include the completion of: basic integrated infrastructure of water, sanitation, drainage, and primary and secondary roads in Federal Gardens, Jones/Craig Town in Kingston, Central Village in St. Catherine, Bucknor in Clarendon, and Flanker in St. James; four community centres in Bucknor, Knollis, Central Village and Flanker; regularization of illegal electricity connections in Bucknor and Central Village; ongoing rapid impact projects; and zinc fence replacements in Whitfield Town (Kingston) and Flanker.
Zinc fence replacement in Lauriston, Africa, Passmore Town, Tawes Meadows and Shelter Rock are also planned, while land tenure regularization activities are to be carried out in Flanker, and micro finance and social safety net activities continued in 12 communities.
Rural Economic Development initiatives will see the implementation of 40 agricultural/tourism sub projects in St. Elizabeth and Manchester, and the implementation of eight national technical capacity building sub-projects. Under the Community Investment Project, 10 social/economic social services sub-projects are to be implemented, along with the pilot of the Bridge Jamaica project.
Under the Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP 2), 11 community-based infrastructure sub-projects are to be implemented in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James; and one institutional strengthening consultancy is to be implemented.
Relating to Hurricane Dean recovery activities, rehabilitation works are to be completed in five primary schools, five basic schools, six heath centres, and two stretch of roadways. Disaster reduction mechanism is to be strengthened; multi hazard maps are to be developed; the service of the Jamaica Fire Brigade is to be strengthened; and community residents are to be trained as first responders to disasters.
Tropical Storm Gustav activities will involve the rehabilitation of schools and community health centres in Kingston, St.Andrew, St. Ann, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, and St. Catherine.
The JSIF, was set up in 1996 to assist the government in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable population groups in the country by: establishing an efficient and demand driven mechanism to deliver basic services and to provide infrastructure to the poor; providing resources to the areas of basic social and economic infrastructure and social services; expanding the Government’s institutional capacity to identify, implement, manage and sustain community-based sub-projects’ and stimulating and enhancing income generating and employment opportunities in agriculture and rural tourism.
Up to February 2011, the JSIF had 1331 projects approved from inception, valued at some $6.7 billion; and has completed 1,007 projects.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter