Budget gives priority to children, youth and culture – Hanna

Date Published: 
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Minister of Youth and Culture Hon. Lisa Hanna says budgetary allocations in the 2013-2014 Estimates of Expenditure demonstrate that the government has given priority status to the care and protection of the nation’s children. Speaking on April 10 at the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament, Minister Hanna noted that the total recurrent budget for the Ministry of Youth and Culture this year, represents an approximately 10 per cent increase over 2012-2013.

She pointed out that in a period of significant expenditure containment, the Government has allocated a $105.6 million increase in grants to private children homes and provided $47 million more in grants to both Government and privately operated and places of safety for children. At the same time, as part of the work of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Children in Conflict with the Law, which Minister Hanna convened last September, the Ministry of Transport and Works has allocated $75 million under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) Secretariat to construct at five police stations across Jamaica, facilities where children who come in contact with Police can be accommodated separately from adults.

The area of youth development has also been positioned as being important in the country’s development with an increase of $32.6 million in recurrent expenditure, Ms. Hanna explained. She said the National Youth Service has been restored to a preeminent position as the leading agent for training, entrepreneurial orientation, the inculcation of proper values and attitudes, and the nurturing of responsible young adults citizens. “The importance that the government places on the critical nation building role of the NYS is evident in the level of funding provided,” she said.

Funding for the NYS in this year’s budget of $406.7 million is an appreciable increase over the 2012-2013 allocation of $393.2 million and significant increase of 275 per cent over the $108.5 million provided in the 2011-2012 fiscal year under the previous Administration. Two weeks ago the Youth Minister launched the NYS’ activities for training and placement of over 11,500 young people during this fiscal year.

“We are also particularly pleased that we have been able to secure a 100 percent increase in grant allocations to the youth organizations such as the National Secondary Students council, the Jamaica Union of Tertiary Students, National Youth Council as well as to disabled youth,” Minister Hanna pointed out, noting that grant provision for uniformed groups also saw an increase of 100 per cent.