Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica’s government says almost 21,000 people have gained employment under the country’s JEEP programme.
The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme, was launched in March by the People’s National Party government, which marked a year since its election Friday.
The data, which Works Minister Dr Omar Davies said came from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, found that unemployment fell from 14.3 percent in April to 12.8 percent in July.
“The impact of JEEP is significant in terms of the number of jobs created, something in the order of over 20,000,” Davies said.
The government put the figure at 20,624 as of this week.
The projects have ranged from infrastructure work to housing plans and agriculture initiatives.
The Ministry of Tourism has also reportedly employed nearly 1,074 people on tourism-related projects.
Phase II of JEEP is expected to be completed in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, according to Davies.
“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 said.
The government said around $70 million USD had been earmarked to be spent on JEEP projects.
Phase II expects to employ 35,000 people, following 15,000 during Phase 1.
The data did not specify the duration of these jobs, and whether they represent short or long-term employment.