A total of $1.868 billion has been allocated to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The money will be used to undertake several initiatives, including: Inner City Basic Services, which has received $662 million; Basic Needs (5) Trust Fund, which has been given $2 million; Basic Needs Trust Fund (6), $349 million; Poverty Reduction Programme II, $98 million; Rural Economic Development Initiative, $217 million; Community Crime and Violence Prevention, $49 million; Tropical Storm Gustav Emergency Recovery Fund, $12.6 million; Poverty Reduction Programme III, $44 million; Community Investment Project, $156 million; and JSIF overhead, $276 million.
The funds are being provided by the Government, Caribbean Development Bank, European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The project seeks 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 provide infrastructure to the poor in the population; stimulating and enhancing income generating and employment opportunities in agriculture and rural tourism; and providing resources to the areas of basic social and economic infrastructure and social services.
Up to February 2012, some 1,074 projects had been completed; and 1,632 projects had been approved from inception, valued at approximately $8.054 billion.
The project, which started in November 1996, has been extended several times and is slated to end in March 2016.
For this fiscal year, 90 projects are expected to be implemented at a cost of $1.81 billion.
Under Poverty Reduction Programme II, activities include completion of two schools, one primary school and one basic school; work will be initiated under the PRP III to include the design of works for five community basic infrastructure; and small scale community projects will be undertaken, to include micro enterprises and skills training.
For the Basic Needs Trust Fund (6) programme, work will include completing the rehabilitation and construction of five schools (three basic schools and two primary schools); improving access by completing two roads; restoring access to health services by the rehabilitation of one health centre; improving water supply system to three rural communities; completing construction of one main market; and delivering eight social services projects to complement the infrastructure projects.
For the Inner City Basic Services Project (ICBSP), road and drainage works in six of 12 inner city communities will be completed; the construction and supply of waste skip enclosures and skips to manage waste generated in the 12 communities will be undertaken; work will be initiated towards the replacement of the now defunct sewage treatment plant at Tawes Meadows; work will continue on 11 social services interventions to include summer programmes, skills training, family support programmes and certification.
Under the Rural Economic Development Initiative, it is expected that economic enterprises will be developed in the agriculture and tourism sectors to include: construction of three pig farm facilities; construction of two drying and cooling facilities to extend the shelf life and quality of vegetables, herbs and spices; expansion of factory space and equipping of one bammy factory; development of four community based tourism ventures; supply and installation of equipment to improve drip irrigation to farmers; and provision of safety and cooling equipment for distribution to approximately 1,000 fishermen.
Activities under the Community Investment Project will include: improving access to educational facilities, including sanitation in eight schools (five primary and three basic schools); constructing sanitary facilities towards the improvement of the environmental health conditions; and rehabilitation of five rural access roads to enhance access to markets by small farmers.
The project is being undertaken by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter