In a statement to Parliament today, Clarke said the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions shows that poverty fell from 21.2 per cent for calendar year 2015 to 17.1 per cent in calendar year 2016, a fall of four percentage points, which represents a dramatic 19 per cent decline in the incidence of poverty, the largest annual reduction in 10 years.
He said that the incidence of “rural poverty”, as reported, declined from 28.5 per cent in calendar year 2015 to 2016, a fall of eight percentage points representing a 30 per cent drop in the incidence of rural poverty.
The finance minister also stated that poverty in the KMA fell from 14.3 per cent in 2015 to 11.9 per cent in 2016. This poverty rate in Kingston is the lowest since 2008.
“These significant declines in poverty are consistent with rising employment, low inflation and the sharp 12 per cent jump in agricultural outputs in 2016, relative to 2015,” Dr Clarke said.
Stating that this is great news for the people of Jamaica, the minister stated that the Government, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is serious about the reduction of poverty having increased the allocation to school feeding through PATH by 47 per cent, and with its focus on job creation.
“This emphasised the opportunity and the need to reprioritise spending as a percentage of our budget, away from compensation and interest, which comprise 70 per cent of total spending, and towards poverty alleviation, social support and growth inducing activities. By doing so we improve the lives of all Jamaicans,” Clarke emphasised.
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