Approximately 20, 624 individuals have gained employment under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), which is now in its second phase.
The project, which was launched in March this year, is one of the strategies of the Government to respond to the chronic unemployment status of some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic strata, persons with special needs as well as those with low skill levels.
Providing information on the initiative at a recent press conference, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, said data shows that JEEP has had a meaningful impact on the unemployment level in Jamaica.
“The data are very impressive…the data from STATIN (Statistical Institute of Jamaica) in terms of the impact of JEEP, (shows that) there was a reduction in the level of unemployment between the data from April and July, a reduction from 14.3 per cent to 12.8 per cent and the impact of JEEP is significant in terms of the number of jobs created, something in the order of over 20, 000,” he said.
The projects have been implemented through several government ministries, in what can be described as a successful example of a joined-up government approach.
Employment has been created in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and intensive labour, among others.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has implemented several projects in turmeric cultivation, ginger industry resuscitation, school feeding and expansion of Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA) Twickenham industry. To date, over 3,200 persons have benefitted through these projects.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been partnering with private sector entities for the attachment of 450 unemployed young adults over a two-year period.
Some 405 persons have so far been employed under this initiative, with 379 currently being paid by the private sector employers. Approximately 40 per cent of these trainees have received permanent employment, as a result of the JEEP initiative.
In addition, some 624 persons have received employment through the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Heart Trust/NTA. The slate of JEEP projects under the Ministry includes data management, Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and teacher’s assistant programme.
The National Works Agency (NWA) has also undertaken a labour intensive programme involving primarily road support infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance. Through the NWA, a total of 15,145 individuals have received work.
“There are several projects, which have been supervised by the NWA because we have reallocated funds from JDIP (Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme) but the big difference is that Members of Parliament, councillors, community groups have had a say in the development of these capital projects,” Dr. Davies said.
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), has also undertaken various projects through the parish councils, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) and the Hope Zoo Foundation, with some 1,074 persons employed to date.
Approximately 128 persons have received employment through the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.
Dr. Davies said Phase II is expected to be completed during financial year 2013/14 and the Government is in the process of seeking funds to continue the work of JEEP. “I expect to have confirmed success in identifying funds early in the New Year, such that it can be built into the budget for 2013/14,” he stated.
Some $6 billion has been earmarked to be spent on projects under the JEEP. An estimated 35,000 persons are expected to be employed during Phase II.
During Phase I, roughly 15,000 persons were employed in several ministries and agencies.
Members of Parliament, other political representatives, government agencies, citizens associations, church groups and non-governmental organizations are able to make submissions to the JEEP Secretariat for projects to be executed under the initiative. Interested individuals may contact the Secretariat at 754-2584 – 9 or visit [email protected]