The establishment of the National Poverty Alleviation Committee was among measures coming out of the recent Cabinet Retreat.
Finance and Planning Minister Dr. Peter Phillips, told a media briefing that the committee will comprise “high level State and non-state partners.”
The members, he said, will examine “in greater detail, the incidence of poverty across the country, and try to channel some of the responses by various State agencies….and target measures in…particular areas where there (is) a higher than average incidence of poverty.”
He advised that the committee will work in tandem with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which has been mandated to update the Survey of Living Conditions “in the quickest time possible”, to ensure that policy decisions “can be informed by the most up-to-date data possible.”
Dr. Phillips said the discussions also focused on the inter-generational transmission of poverty, in relation to conditions contributing to long-standing impoverishment of families, and the resulting impacts, such as nutritional deficiency, particularly among children.
“A lot of the discussion focused on…recognising that poverty is not just…(about)…and combating (it). It’s not going to be simply a matter of throwing more budgetary resources at the problem, but looking (for example) at the…issue of bolstering the nutritional status of households,…(and) the school feeding programme, (which is) to be augmented,” he informed.
In this regard, Dr. Phillips said there was a “role to be played” by the Government and its partners in helping households understand some of these nutritional issues.
“That would involve a coordinated effort between the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, (and) Ministry of (Labour and Social Security, under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education). So, this Inter-Ministerial Committee, guided by the data provided by the PIOJ, will try to target some of the responses to the specific categories and geographic areas affected,” he noted.
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