JIS News

World Bank Special Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Badrul Haque, says funding assistance by the institution to the Government’s Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), since the initiative commenced in 2001, has amounted to some US$80 million ($6.9 billion).
PATH, which falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, aims to address the needs of individuals deemed society’s most marginalised, including the poor, elderly and disabled, by providing benefits in the form of cash grants and other benefits.
Speaking at a US$2.49 million ($215 million) PATH grant signing ceremony, at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, on July 9, Dr. Haque said the World Bank has long been associated with many of Jamaica’s evidence-based policies, beginning with the 1987 Survey of Living Conditions report, while describing PATH as the “most famous of these.”
The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) has provided the US$2.49 million grant, which will significantly boost funding provisions for PATH. Some 10,000 of Jamaica’s population deemed poor, elderly and disabled, who were not previously on PATH, will benefit from the grant, which will be administered by the World Bank.
Pointing out that the grant facility is “the first of our recently approved partnership strategies with Jamaica,” Dr. Haque informed that the approximately 338,623 individuals, inclusive of 48,199 elderly and 7,888 persons with disabilities, benefitting from PATH’s main provisions, represent 12 per cent of Jamaica’s population, or one out of every 12 persons.
Regarding students, Dr. Haque described as “encouraging” the 79 per cent of students, ages six to 18 years, currently benefitting, who are complying with PATH requirements of regular school attendance. Further, that over 400 of these students are currently attending tertiary institutions, “including over 100 at the University of the West Indies (UWI).” Additionally, 72 per cent of pregnant and nursing women are complying with PATH requirements of regular attendance at health centres.
“Truly, PATH is a remarkable programme and many countries from around the world, from Africa, Latin America and within the (Caribbean) region, are visiting Jamaica or consulting with partners in the PATH programme, to learn from it, so that they can replicate something very similar. Therefore, I congratulate Jamaica for making the PATH programme a success, and I thank Japan for its continued support of Jamaica’s development, through the World Bank. I’m sure that the activities that will be undertaken under this new grant will yield even more success and more opportunities,” Dr. Haque said.
Meanwhile, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, who along with Dr. Haque signed the grant agreement, said the administration has been urged by their multilateral partner agencies, to take every step to safeguard Jamaica’s social safety net. These agencies, he said, include the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The multi-lateral institutions have made it absolutely clear that they want to ensure that, notwithstanding the Letter of Intent (with the IMF), and notwithstanding our various performance agreements with the various other multi-lateral institutions, that we must ensure that the social safety net is not compromised,” he said.
Mr. Shaw described the latest partnership provision as a “win-win situation” for the administration, the country, the World Bank and the JSDF, adding that they are on board with the preservation and enhancement of the social safety net for Jamaica.
Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiroshai Yamaguchi, commended the administration’s execution of PATH.
He informed that in response to the recent food, fuel and financial crisis, which have negatively impacted the global economy, “particularly the middle income developing countries,” the Japanese Government decided to increase the level of its development assistance in order to “further address the needs of the poor and vulnerable.”
“As such, Japan’s Ministry of Finance approved the emergency window and the JSDF with financing of US$200 million over a three year period, during fiscal year 2010/12. The JSDF emergency window supports activities aligned with the objectives of the World Bank’s Vulnerability Finance Facility framework, and especially the World Bank’s initiatives associated with the rapid social response programme and the global food crisis response programme. The World Bank established the vulnerability financing facility to mobilise resources to protect the poorest and to help those who have been driven into extreme poverty in the wake of the global economic crisis,” the Ambassador said.