KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday May 12, 2014, CMC – The European Union is providing J$11.1 billion (one Jamaica dollar = US$0.004 cents) to Jamaica for projects within the sugar industry, justice, community development initiatives and poverty reduction.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said the sacrifice being made by Jamaicans under the current economic programme is “bearing fruits” and that the country’s strict adherence to sound fiscal management is part of what has enabled the EU’s continued support to the country.
“Transparency and accountability in the management of our financial affairs is paramount. If we were not financially prudent, we would not be signing these agreements. Our multilateral partners would not be supporting us, if we were not demonstrating that we are serious about managing our affairs,” Simpson Miller said.
She said that some 100 communities in five parishes will be benefiting from the poverty reduction component of the support, and said it is part of government’s thrust to create enabling opportunities to improve lives.
“Its emphasis on the unemployed female headed households is most welcomed,” Simpson Miller said.
The targeted parishes are Kingston, St Andrew, Clarendon, St James, and St Catherine.
The Prime Minister outlined some of the expected results of the poverty reduction programme as “improved quality access to basic social and economic infrastructure and services; as well as increased income generation and employment opportunities.”
She emphasized that her administration is committed to ensuring that children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, receive the best quality of life, and so has earmarked J$22.5 billion for social support programmes. This includes increase support for the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
“We have made provisions to the tune of $500 million for our pensioners, and have increased PATH payments by 15 percent, while raising the transportation subsidy for those on PATH, and expanding our school feeding programme,” Simpson Miller said.