New benefit programme suspended – Minnis Cabinet SUSPENDS FOOD AND SOCIAL SERVICE ASSISTANCE! NOTHING FOR BACK TO SCHOOL!
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
By AVA TURNQUEST
THE Department of Social Services’ Conditional Cash Transfer project has been suspended for at least two months, The Tribune has learned.
A senior official yesterday confirmed that the project was suspended; however, it is not clear how this affects existing programmes as the CCT was intended to consolidate existing initiatives that
address social assistance, inclusive of housing grants, grocery allowance and educational help.
Minister of Social Services Lanisha Rolle could not be reached up to press time, and her permanent secretary did not respond to The Tribune’s inquiries yesterday.
The ministry’s RISE public relations campaign, and the CCT project, was launched in June 2015.
Dialogue for the creation of the project commenced in 2004 after an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study revealed that social assistance programmes in the country operated with little social safety nets to prevent abuse and misappropriation.
An agreement was reached between the government and the IDB in August 2012 resulting in the implementation of a $7.5m social safety-net reform project or the Renewing, Inspiring, Sustaining, Empowering (RISE) initiative.
As a part of the RISE initiative, families with children attending primary school must make certain that the child attends at least 90 per cent of prescribed school days and keeps up a 2.0 grade point average (GPA).
Families with children in secondary high school must meet these same conditions and ensure their child graduates.
If these conditions are not met, the child has to take part in one of a number of remedial courses in order for the grant to be maintained.
At its 2015 launch, officials from the Department of Social Services indicated that more than 1,000 beneficiaries had registered at the department’s Wulff Road centre.
The RISE programme followed the introduction of the pre-paid debit card in conjunction with Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) in November 2014.
At the CCT launch, more than 4,000 residents of New Providence were said to be part of the Department of Social Services’ modernised food assistance programme.