JIS News

KINGSTON — Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, says that the PIOJ is satisfied with its method of measuring poverty in Jamaica, as it is based on the Survey of Living Conditions which a very important global standard.

Speaking against the background of media reports on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent report of a 43.1 per cent poverty rate for Jamaica, Dr. Hutchinson pointed out that this figure is for 2002, not 2010 and that, in fact, the PIOJ’s estimate for 2002, using its methodology, was 19.7 per cent.

The most recent estimation of poverty, which was presented by the PIOJ in May of this year, is 17.6 per cent for 2010, he said.

Dr. Hutchinson was speaking at a Media Briefing on the country’s economic performance for the July to September quarter, at the PIOJ, Oxford Road, New Kingston on Wednesday (November 23).

He said that the methodology that the IMF uses to arrive at its analysis was different from that which is used locally.

“The IMF uses a purchasing power, income base (method), and that measure has been inconsistent with what we have done at the Institute… there are different ways to do this and we are very satisfied with the way we have done it,” he explained.

The PIOJ head noted that, over the past year, a review of its methodology was reviewed with outside experts and that, in June, the agency hosted a workshop with local stakeholders, and international scholars were invited to review the way in which poverty is measured.

“We are close to completing that work, incorporating their comments, and we expect, in a short time, to present that to Cabinet and Parliament,” he told the briefing.

A comprehensive analysis of the estimation of poverty in Jamaica, outlining the various approaches to doing so, including the IMF methodology, is published on the PIOJ website.


By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter