Tue | Aug 14, 2018

More money for poverty reduction trust fund

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Audley Shaw (left), minister of finance and the public service, greets Omar Sweeney (right), managing director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), and Dr Wayne Henry (centre), JSIF board chairman, on his arrival for the Partnering Against Poverty Basic Needs Trust Fund Ninth Programme National Project Launch, held at the Courtyard at Marriot hotel in St Andrew, yesterday.

Jamaica stands to benefit from an increased outlay of funds from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) under the ninth cycle of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund-implemented Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), says Daniel Best, director of the CDB's projects department.

The announcement was made during Tuesday's launch at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in St Andrew.

"After extensive and exhaustive discussions, the CDB has negotiated an increased contribution to the BNTF from the Special Development Fund. With this additional funding, we are better positioned to design and implement a more nimble programme with an even bolder agenda for tackling poverty in the region," Best said.

Eight other countries will also benefit from the increased grant allocation under the new arrangement, which amounts to US$40.8 million, of which Jamaica receives an initial US$7.52 million.

"The country is also eligible and, indeed, intends to claim a portion of an unallocated incentive amount of US$5.2 million to be distributed at mid-term based on project performance and also an additional counterpart funding of $6.8 billion from the Government of Jamaica," Best noted.


Response to poverty


The funds are to be used to respond to poverty, particularly in rural areas, through investments in community infrastructure and related services, water sanitation, roads and drainage, education and human resource development. Completion of the BNTF programme is schedule for December 31, 2020.

The core function of the project will be to facilitate the development of rural communities through increased access to basic services, thereby advancing Jamaica's thrust towards full rural development.

Human underdevelopment Ja's greatest crisis - Shaw

Finance Minister Audley Shaw, while thanking the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) for their respective efforts in tackling rural poverty in Jamaica through the Basic Needs Trust Fund, has said that the underlying issue of human underdevelopment will have to be assessed at a granular level.

Shaw was citing a recent Inter-American Development Bank study, which concluded that human underdevelopment plays a major role in perpetuating poverty in Jamaica and other English-speaking Caribbean countries.


Lack of proper parenting


He said that the study concluded that our low productivity levels are directly related to the lack of adequate equal opportunities for early-childhood education, and, among other things, the lack of proper parenting.

"Our children are not getting an equal opportunity to early childhood education, and that is where the problem begins. I know that the prime minister (Andrew Holness) and the minister of education (Ruel Reid) are committed to framing a programme so we can rescue a child at the very earliest possible stage," Shaw stated.

"I have said to the Opposition spokesman on education in Parliament that many will think that the greatest crisis we have in Jamaica today is crime. It is not. The greatest crisis we have in Jamaica today is the crisis of lack of growth - it is not. Our greatest single crisis in Jamaica today is a crisis of human underdevelopment."