In sweeping criticism of Jamaica’s welfare programmes as ineffective, a leading think tank has lobbied for the implementation of a comprehensive national health insurance plan and an inclusive pension scheme.
The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) has called for the removal of the conditionalities from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and has pressed for the passage of the National Assistance Bill to replace the Poor Relief Act (1886). The absence of overarching legislation for social protection has been blamed for an uncoordinated approach to poverty reduction.
These are among nine recommendations made by CAPRI in its Come Mek Wi Hol’ Yuh Han’: The Components of an Effective Social Safety Net for Jamaica report, which is co-funded by the European Union.
The package costs between $40 billion and $50 billion, and CAPRI proposed that half the budget be funded from the National Health Fund and the National Housing Trust.
The remainder is to be funded by the fiscal dividend to be earned from instituting policies that foster inclusive growth coupled with the eradication of tax exemptions on basic consumption items.