Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, is pointing to election spending, as well as a fall in remittances, as possible reasons for the increase in the poverty rate in 2017.

According to the 2017 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, released last week, poverty rose from 17% to 19% between 2016 and 2017.

The survey is produced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, PIOJ but Dr. Clarke says the data need to be analyzed in a broader context.

He points out that there’s been a general decline in poverty over the last five years.

The Finance Minister also notes that 2016 was an election year, which may have resulted in a larger decline in poverty that year due to election spending.

As a result, Dr. Clarke argues that the increase in the poverty rate the year after an election, would reflect a return to what would’ve been the normal rate.

Additionally, he’s pointing to another statistic in the PIOJ’s survey, showing that remittances to the poorest Jamaicans living in Kingston, also fell in 2017.

The Finance Minister says this could also partly explain the increase in poverty in Kingston that year.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance. He was speaking on Nationwide This Morning.