The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has granted Jamaica a J$46.3 million (US$520,000) grant to fund a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems Modernization Programme.
The system is utilized, within the Government service, to capture and record vital data and statistics, such as births and deaths.
The project, which will be spearheaded by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), aims to effect improvements to inter-agency coordination and communication, relative to data collection, processing and management and resource strengthening. It will be executed over an 18-month period, with disbursement of the funds spanning 24 months. The Government will provide counterpart funding, totalling $4.1 million.
Finance and Public Service Minister, the Hon. Audley Shaw, and the IDB’s Vice President for Countries, Roberto Velluntini, on Friday (October 23), signed a Letter of Agreement for the grant, during a brief ceremony at the Ministry, National Heroes Circle, Kingston.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon Audley Shaw (left), and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Vice President, Roberto Velluntini, exchange signed copies of a Letter of Agreement for the bank’s provision of a US$520,000 (J$46.37 million) grant to the Government to undertake a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems Modernization Programme, at the Ministry, National Heroes Circle, Kingston on Friday (October 23).
Mr. Shaw underscored the importance of reliable data collection, and its accurate and timely processing in Government’s planning and service provision, as well as in measuring Jamaica’s compliance with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He said that a 2005 audit of Jamaica’s vital statistics management system revealed: a lack of coherent and coordinated government policies with regard to vital statistics; a lack of effective and efficient communication and collaboration between and within agencies and ministries; and the absence of a standard definition of vital statistics.
“These all serve as obstacles to the production of valid and reliable statistics. For this reason, the Government is placing particular emphasis on strengthening national civil registration and vital statistics systems,” Mr. Shaw explained.
The Minister noted that while various institutions and agencies, such as hospitals and the police, were currently involved in reporting births and deaths, there has been no uniformity nor a standard system that is acceptable.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw (left), jokes with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Vice President, Roberto Velluntini, during the signing of an agreement for a $46.3 million grant from the bank for a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems Modernization Programme, at the Ministry, National Heroes Circle, Kingston, on Friday (October 23).
“The activities are designed to be first steps in improving the collection of vital data, and ensuring the accuracy and timely processing of vital statistics. It is expected that, by the end of the project, the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), as well as the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), will have developed and conformed to formally agreed procedures for data communication,” he said.
Mr. Shaw added that the outputs of the technical cooperation were expected to be used as inputs into a larger project, geared to establishing a national identification system.
“It would be a system where, when each child is born in Jamaica that child must get what, for instance, in the United States is a social security number. But, it must be an identification number that that person carries literally from birth until death, and that ID number is unique to that single individual and citizen of Jamaica. That is the ultimate system to establish a national registration and identification system,” he outlined.
In a brief statement, Mr. Velluntini noted that persons residing in informal settings were expected to benefit significantly from the project, describing the initiative as a “citizenship enhancing programme”.
The IDB official said that funding was being provided through a newly created facility, known as the “social fund”. He pointed out that the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems Modernization Programme was among the first to benefit from grant.
“What (encouraged) us to give the grant.is the nature of the programme and, more importantly, the nature of the beneficiaries, lower income people,” Mr. Velluntini stated.
He said tat the IDB is committed to assisting Jamaica with the groundwork leading to the establishment of the national identification system.