Madam Speaker, and colleague Parliamentarians, as you are aware, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is one of the most important Ministries working quietly in the background to provide Social Welfare Services and to maintain industrial harmony.

The Ministry has responsibility for issues relating to workers, employers, National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Pensioners, Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens as well as Public Assistance and Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) beneficiaries.

Jamaica has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and no sphere of our lives have been spared. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security continues to be at the forefront of efforts by the Government to assist our most vulnerable who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Madam Speaker, the Recurrent Estimates of Expenditure for the 2021/22 fiscal year is $13.652B. This represents an increase of 238.26% over the $4.035B revised Estimates for 2020/21 fiscal year. This increase was primarily as a result of the reallocation of the Operational and Beneficiary Payments costs under PATH from the Capital to the Recurrent Head of Expenditure and an allocation of $800M for Social Assistance for the Elderly.

Madam Speaker, for the first time in the 19-year history of the PATH programme, it is 100 percent funded by the Government of Jamaica. We thank our multilateral partners, the IDB and the World Bank who have helped us over the years.

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