Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has emphasised that productivity must be the main focus, if the social policy and the economic development agenda are to be realised.
Addressing the 10th Anniversary Church Service of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), held at the Mt. Salem Seventh Day Adventist Church, in Montego Bay, on March 10, the Minister said that within the context of certain recommended measures from a lecture delivered recently by the World Bank Sector Director for Human Development for the Latin American and Caribbean area, Keith Hansen, it is clear that Jamaica is on the right path in terms of the range of programmes being implemented in the social protection system.
“In respect of creating opportunities for youth and working age population, the Steps to Work Programme initiative and the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) are indeed steps in the right direction. I was really heartened by the fact that the World Bank expert identified raising productivity levels as central to labour and employment policies as well as contributing to equity and building resilience through the social protection system,” Mr. Kellier said.
“It is also my conviction that for the social policy and the economic development agenda to be realised, productivity must be at the centre of the focus here in Jamaica. Therefore, as the Minister of Labour and Social Security, I will be relentless in my efforts to strengthen and promote the work of the Jamaica Productivity Centre, directed at increasing efficiency in all sectors of the economy,” he added.
The Minister said that in spite of the limited fiscal space and other challenges, the government is fully committed to the continued development and maintenance of a social protection system that is inclusive, responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable, protects the elderly and is gender sensitive.
“This will ensure equity, resilience and opportunities for all, guided by the Vision 2030 goal, ‘Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do businesses,” he said.
Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030.
In his message, which was read by Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus, Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir. Patrick Allen said that economic stability and development are important factors in reducing poverty and generating the resources necessary for human development.
“The success and overall well being of a nation come from a healthy, educated and stable population. Within the last ten years, Jamaica has progressed in the reduction of poverty and is now ranked as an upper middle-income country. However, despite these gains, there are still at least 125,000 who are below the poverty line,” the Governor General said.
“The PATH initiative which was established in 2002 to deliver benefits to the most vulnerable in society – children, the elderly and the disabled – has for the past decade, aided towards a better future from its multi-dimensional design and application. The organisation is therefore an important element for the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, which envisages a prosperous nation and happy people,” he added.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter