JIS News

The 2006 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) indicates that only 30.4 per cent of households in the lowest category received remittances, compared to 54.9 per cent for the highest. Speaking at the launch of the report on February 20, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Grenada Way office, Director General of the Institute, Dr. Wesley Hughes also said that mean per capita remittances increased progressively from the poorest quintile ($19,338) to the wealthiest quintile ($63,896). The use to which remittance was put, points to its impact, Dr. Hughes pointed out, as it was found that 68.7 per cent of households spent remittances on day-to-day expenses, while education and health received 10 per cent, respectively. Remittances were, therefore, used to supplement wages as opposed to being used for wealth creation, as only 5 per cent of households channeled their remittances into investment or savings, the Director General asserted. Turning to projections for the future, Dr. Hughes said these were made in the context of a low inflation environment. “However, given inflation of 15 per cent at year end (December 2007), fuelled by Hurricane Dean, the October flood rains, the rising food and oil prices, there may have to be an adjustment made with respect to the JSLC 2007, which will be published later this year,” he added.
He said it was still expected that poverty, the most watched trend, would decline. However, he cautioned that such a decline would not be substantial as “it is more difficult to assail poverty when we have, through strategic interventions, alleviated poverty to the point where we have now reached those who are the extreme poor.”
Dr. Hughes said the nation should therefore expect to see continued decline, but a slowing down of the rate of the decline. With this reality, he said it should be recognised that the economy and the nation has come a far way, as the highest incidence of poverty was 45 per cent in 1991, coupled with an inflation rate of 80 per cent.
“A rise in the latter, therefore, will result in a rise in the former. These are realities that should not surprise, but rather incite us to be better prepared for change and suggests the urgency to not allow inflation to spiral,” he said.
This special module on remittances, written by Dr. Dillon Alleyne of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Department of Economics, was included in the JSLC because of the prominence of remittance inflows in social and economic discussions.

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