Madam Speaker, colleague Parliamentarians, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security continues to lead the Government’s charge to provide economic opportunities, foster a climate of social and industrial stability and deliver social protection to the people of Jamaica. Our
Mandate includes promotion of productivity for growth, ensuring the safety and health of workers, maintenance of an effective and efficient Labour Market and the promotion of social inclusion for all.

Our country continues to grapple with the effects of the global pandemic. Like many other countries, we have had to pivot, re-define and redirect our efforts, to ensure that we do not lose the gains which we made pre-COVID-19. Our Ministry has therefore continued to aggressively deliver the Government’s relief interventions to the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Madam Speaker, in July 2021, we successfully launched the new Social Pension Programme for our elderly population. For the first time in our history, Jamaica now has a mechanism through which we systematically provide a government benefit to vulnerable persons 75 years and older. We have committed to deliver a benefit to these persons every two months, as long as they remain alive. This is in addition to delivering benefits to our NIS contributors, and to other vulnerable populations through our Social Protection flagship intervention, the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, (PATH).

Madam Speaker, the Recurrent Estimates of Expenditure for the 2022/23 Fiscal Year is $14.219B. This represents an increase of 3.9% over the $13.652B Original Estimates for 2021/22 Fiscal Year. However, when comparing FY 2022/2023 with the Supplementary Estimates FY 2021/2022, there was a reduction of 23.78%. This reduction was primarily as a result of the One-Off SERVE (COVID assistance) Payments totalling $2.65B, assistance under the UN World Food Programme totalling $334M, and School Feeding Payments made on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Youth totalling $1.507B.

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