Tardiness resulted in Jamaica losing J$27m grant funding from World Bank

Auditor-General Pamela Monroe-Ellis

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development—better-known as the World Bank—has yanked just over US$202,000 (J$27 million) in grant funding from the Government of Jamaica.

This was due to the slow implementation of a local project that the World Bank was solely funding. The project in question was the Jamaica Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, which is part of a bigger project under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

Despite receiving a one-year extension of the project that was being carried out for five years, the implementing agency was only able to expend US$2.7 million or 93 per cent of the US$2.9 million grant funding. As such, the Government of Jamaica lost US$202,341.34 in grants. The project was extended to August 14, 2018 and thereafter wrapped up.

Auditor-General, Pamela Monroe-Ellis reports that an examination of the project by her department revealed that the under-utilization of the grant funding was due mainly to the Training Consultant delay in submitting a final report as well as invoices within the disbursement period.

“Consequently, the Government of Jamaica had to provide US$160,172 (JM$20.7 Million) from another source, to pay for the training which was done subsequent to August 2018,” Monroe-Ellis stated in her just-released annual report to Parliament. The objective of the project is to assist the Government of Jamaica increase the employability and skills development of poor persons with disabilities, and improve the service delivery of special education needs to poor children with disabilities.

On another matter, the Auditor-General wrapped the administrators of PATH for delays in the procuring and delivery of assistive aid to persons with disabilities. In her report, tabled on Tuesday, Monroe-Ellis pointed out that the procurement of goods and services under this component of the project was not robust. She stated that at the project’s closure in August 2018, only 9 per cent of the targeted 550 children with disabilities received assistive aid. Also, the project did not receive 469 assistive aid procured at a cost of US$136,605 on August 14, 2018 (the last day of the Project), until January 2019, five months after the project ended.

“Our investigation disclosed that the tardiness was due to the Project Team’s failure to conduct timely, needs assessment. Further, up to the time of reporting, MLSS provided evidence that only 50 recipients received assistive aid,” the Auditor-General reported. She emphasised that “PATH’s failure to implement proper project and procurement planning contributed to the lack of achievement of two of the nine project objectives of improving the service delivery of special education needs to poor children with disabilities”.