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Give people tools to grow, not handouts, analyst to government

Published:Tuesday | March 25, 2014 | 9:40 AM

Financial analyst Karen Fitz Ritson says the Government needs to make every effort to eliminate the reliance on social safety nets.

She was speaking at a Gleaner Editor’s Forum yesterday where she acknowledged the importance of social safety nets in the national budget.

However, she said more focus should be placed on getting people employed and giving them the tools to grow themselves out of poverty.

In the 2013-2014 Budget, $4.1 billion was allocated to PATH, and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in January, indicated that this would be increased by some $900 million in the upcoming financial year.

However, co-executive director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute Dr Christopher Tufton says the next Budget should take into consideration the extent to which PATH is aiding the needy.

He also says attention must be given to how the initiative can better work along with the other broader poverty-reduction strategies.

The government is being urged by the analysts to pay special attention to the social safety nets in the next Budget to ensure the poor and those most vulnerable in the country do not suffer as Jamaica sacrifices to meet requirements under an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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