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St. Kitts and Nevis opens LIFT programme today, offers $600 to low-income families

Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis: The government officials of St. Kitts and Nevis have announced the opening of the Livelihood Improvement for Family Transformation (LIFT) programme for the new applicants from Monday, 17th June, 2024.

Minister Isalean Phillip, shared that the LIFT programme has succeeded the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), that have suffered several abnormalities. However, this time the LIFT Programme have been introduced under an improved management system that would promote transparency and also increase the efficiency, so that the objective of poverty reduction can be met.

The plan is to provide the LIFT programme beneficiaries will receive an amount of $600 per month, the households who have earnings of less than $2,500 per family. The threshold has been informed by the technical local and regional experts.

The minister added that they wish to ‘target persons who are more vulnerable, so those who earn the least.’ The minister added that the threshold will be brought in line with the new minimum wage which is $2,000 after the second increase next year.

She also noted that St. Kitts and Nevis has the highest minimum wage in the region, and the government is working towards making sure that residents who earn minimum wage are able to fulfill their basic needs.

PAP, a cash transfer programme provided the households with monthly income less than $3,000, received $500. Permanent Secretary Azilla Clarke, shared the statistic regarding the money spent by government on PAP applicants. The country has around 7400 PAP registered residents, which equated to sum of $3.7 million spent every month by the government.

She further shared that PAP was there for six years, launched in December 2017 and continued till December 2023. Every person received $6,000 yearly and a total of $36,000 in last six years. However, the government is unable to make out that the funds have helped to change the circumstances or not.

Minister Philip encouraged the people who do not qualify under the set criteria for the LIFT programme to apply for other government social programmes that provide medical assistance, educational support, food vouchers, shelter services and burial assistance.

Additionally, the government will continue to initiate ideas that will boost the agricultural production and will lower energy production costs and improve the quality of living of the residents.

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