The COVID Allocation of Resources to Employees (CARE) Programme has been expanded to provide a Back-to-School component to children within the PATH and Poor Relief Programmes.
It should be noted that the Government has over the last two years provided a Back-to-School grant to the PATH students and for this fiscal year that grant was programmed at $3,500 per student.
The Government will for this fiscal year provide an overall Back-to-School grant of $8,500 per student at the primary and secondary education level who is within the PATH or Poor Relief Programmes, to assist with the procurement of school supplies as the new academic year commences. The Government will also provide a grant of $5,000 per child at the early childhood level within the PATH and Poor Relief Programmes.
This means that the provision under the CARE component will serve to increase the programmed PATH amount for students at the primary and secondary levels from $3,500 per student to $8,500 per student while providing the $8,500 for each primary and secondary Poor Relief student. The CARE component will also cover the $5,000 per child at the early childhood level.
Disbursement of the Back-to-School grant will be through the regular PATH and Poor Relief payment avenues during the month of August. This means that the grant to the PATH students will be made by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security with the usual PATH bimonthly cash grant, while the grant to the Poor Relief students will be made by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development with the usual monthly payment.
It should be noted that where students are on both the PATH Programme and the Poor Relief Programme, the Back-to-School grant will be made only through the PATH Programme.
Utilization of the existing PATH and Poor Relief payment channels for disbursement of the Back-to-School grant means that the grant will be delivered to the responsible adult registered with each Programme with whom each student is associated.
It is estimated that the Back-to-School grant will benefit approximately 203,500 children at an approximate overall cost of $1.6 billion. This beneficiary estimate is comprised of approximately 200,000 PATH children and 3,500 Poor Relief children. The Back-to-School component of the CARE programme will be providing approximately $1.0 billion of the estimated overall grant.
CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND (CDF)
I am providing the following update on the CDF on behalf of the Most Hon. Prime Minister.
The CDF places restrictions on the maximum amount that can be allocated to a programme in a fiscal year. Given the pressing needs of Back to School that limit will be lifted this year to $12 million which allow members of parliament if they so choose to allocate up to that amount to Education Assistance. Members will be able to reallocate from other programmes to Education up to that limit, for this fiscal year. All other rules of the CDF remain in place.