During last Friday’s virtual launch, Minister of Labour and Social Security Karl Samuda said payment was extended to just over 2,000 seniors.
- The minister said “We are expecting that early next year, we would have through this effort cleaned up the PATH list, so that we know exactly how many recipients are there; we know exactly how to project the funding necessary; and from there, we will then begin to establish even better programmes that will reach out to the poor and the needy,”
- Samuda informed that some 315 young people were recruited to identify potential beneficiaries across the island and assist them with the application process.
- In his keynote address, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the programme is the largest social protection initiative launched by the Government since PATH in 2002.
- Holness highlighted that only 47 per cent of the employed population are active contributors to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). He urged self-employed individuals to make their contributions, as well as employers who have failed to make contributions on behalf of their employees.
- Through the COVID-19 CARE Programme, Holness said the Government has demonstrated that more Jamaicans can be reached digitally, in a shorter time.
- The NIDS will be the basis on which programmes like this will work, by ensuring that the benefit gets to the identified beneficiary. NIDS, it’s on its way and we will be able to track and identify all our seniors and provide them with this social safety net, guaranteed income benefit,” Holness explained.
- Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Collette Roberts-Risden, said the programme has come at a time when many households are seeing a reduction in income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that the introduction of a social pension will enable Jamaica to secure the welfare of, and promote a better quality of life for, its elderly population.