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January 18, 2014
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PATH budget up to $5b for 2014/15

Government is to increase the budgetary allocation under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) to $5 billion for the upcoming financial year. This is an increase of some $900 million over the current financial year.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the disclosure when delivering the keynote address at Digicel Foundation's 10th anniversary launch, held Wednesday, January 15, on the grounds of the Stella Maris Foundation to St Andrew.

She commended Digicel Foundation for partnering with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security provide special-needs assistance to persons on the PATH programme, noting that the intervention has helped 300 children.

The partnership, the prime minister noted, complements the efforts of Government, which had allocated $4.1 billion to the programme this fiscal year.

The allotment has provided for, among other things, a 67 per cent increase in benefits to the elderly; the award of $100 million in scholarships to 1, 000 tertiary-level students across the island; and a $170 million transportation allowance for students in selected rural schools. Some 20,000 students are benefitting from the special allowance during the initial phase.

"My administration continues to make investment in people and social development, even as we pursue our necessary strategy of fiscal prudence and debt management. Yet, as Government, we know that we cannot do all that is required by ourselves, and we need socially sensitive corporate entities like Digicel to join us in this drive for national development," Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

She lauded the Foundation's focus on education, special needs and community development.

The prime minister also hailed Digicel's plans to equip 10 schools with mobile science carts for the enhancement of scientific study at the secondary level; expand the enrichment Programme in schools; and to create more Centres of Excellence for special-needs students.

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