PATH programme to be revamped, says Clarke
Finance and Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke as he closed the 2023/24 Budget Debate at Gordon House. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) is to be revamped.

This was stated on Tuesday by Finance and Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke as he closed the 2023/24 Budget Debate at Gordon House.

Clarke said he agreed with the Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson, who, in his contribution to the Budget Debate argued that it was time to overhaul the country’s largest social safety net programme. Specifically, Robinson said the criteria for selecting beneficiaries for PATH must be looked at since owning a refrigerator should not disqualify a household from benefitting.

“I know that other members of the House share this observation and I consider it a valid point,” Clarke said.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in collaboration with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) will be reviewing the way PATH beneficiaries are selected.

Clarke said that in the absence of reliable income data, the PATH programme needs objective criteria that correlates with, and can be used as predictors of poverty.

“So we can’t ever get to a state where it’s what somebody has to always be an objective reference ...that such references must change over time.

“The objective references that we used 23 years ago when the PATH programme began are not relevant for today for a variety of reasons,” Clarke argued.

He told the House that the labour ministry will collaborate with the PIOJ which publishes the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions to look at the correlates to poverty in today’s Jamaica “and see if we can adjust and update the screening and targeted mechanism”.

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