JIS News

The Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) has been allocated some $1.1 billion in the 2006/2007 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives.
The project, which is being implemented by the Jamaican Government is aimed at supporting efforts to transform the Social Safety Net (SSN) into a fiscally sound and more efficient system of social assistance for the poor and vulnerable, as well as to provide better and more cost-effective social assistance to the very poor. The project will also see to the consolidation of major income transfer programmes into a unified programme that ensures meaningful levels of benefits; cost-efficient and accessible delivery system, and access to benefits linked to desirable behaviour changes for promoting investment in human capital development of the poor, especially children. Under the physical targets initially envisaged, there is a provision of conditional cash transfers to 236,000 persons from the most vulnerable groups among the poor broken down as follows: 168,000 children; 11,000 pregnant and lactating women; 33,000 elderly poor; 19,000 disabled persons, and 5,000 indigent persons. Other targets envisaged include the payment of cash benefits of J$300 per month in year one; J$ 375 per month and J$500 per month in year three, and 236,000 beneficiaries selected on a basis of a proxy means test. Accomplishments up to December 2005 include payments to 178,869 beneficiaries under the PATH; payments to 19,351 Poor Relief beneficiaries under the PATH; island wide targeting and enrolment and13 parish appeals committees activated to deal with cases of PATH applicants who had scored between 1,035.01 and 1039 in means testing. Other accomplishments include the sensitization and training sessions held for beneficiaries and primary agents in schools and health facilities; the completion and submission of the first operational audit to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the employment of communication and liaison officers, and the increasing of beneficiary payment from $400 to $530.
In this fiscal year, the targets to be met include monthly payments to approximately 236,000 eligible beneficiaries; implementation of an Electronic Payment System; Establishment of an Information System to support the efficient management of the programme; the reduction of non-compliance of PATH beneficiaries to 10 per cent; procurement of computer equipment to support the establishment of Management Information Systems within the 13 parish offices and the re-certification exercise of all PATH beneficiaries.
The project is funded by the Jamaican Government and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and is being carried out under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.