Jamaica reserves $8.5 billion for Social Protection Strategy Project

The exterior of Gordon House in Kingston, Jamaica (Photo: Dionne Jackson Miller, WordPress)

A sum of $8.5 billion has been allocated in the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives, towards the continuation of the Integrated Support to the Jamaica Social Protection Strategy project.

The initiative, which commenced in November 2015, is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

It aims to support human capital development for poor families that are beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

It also seeks to strengthen overall capacity and improve quality and access to the network of social services provided by the ministry to the poor and vulnerable population.

Anticipated targets include continued payment of conditional cash transfers; providing on-the-job training and job placement opportunities to 600 PATH beneficiaries; implementing a client management information system; equipping and modernising the Social Security Services Division in the Ministry; and completing a process and impact evaluation of the parenting pilot project.

Up to December 2019, PATH rates were increased by an average of up to 17 per cent as recommended under the Benefit Review Mechanism.

In addition, parenting workshops were conducted with more than 1,400 families; alternative payment options were introduced to over 1,600 beneficiaries in Clarendon, Manchester and St. Catherine; five satellites locations were established and an on-the-job training programme for beneficiaries was rolled out.

The Integrated Support to the Jamaica Social Protection Strategy project is slated to end in November 2020.