Selection criteria for PATH beneficiaries up for review Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The targeting mechanism for the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) is to undergo a review.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke during his closing Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives.

In announcing the pending review, Clarke accepted the position stated by Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson, who, during his contribution to the Budget Debate, pointed out that some persons in need of the benefits offered by the programme were being missed.

Robinson pointed out that under the current targeting mechanism, some households were excluded on the basis that they owned a refrigerator. He said this was unacceptable.

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

He said 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 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 thinks…it 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.

Currently 350,000 Jamaicans benefit from the country’s largest social safety net programme.

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