A civil society official claimed that there were complications in providing equity cards in some villages and communes related to some elderly people who should be receiving cash support from the government.
Tum Vira, executive director of HelpAge Cambodia, said there were many challenges with issuing the equity cards as some elderly people did not understand the process and thought there was no expiry date for the cards.
“Sometimes the elderly tried to use expired cards, which commune authorities could not accept,” he said.
“We think the problem in some villages and communes – but not many – is related to the registration of elderly people for equity cards. We have observed that some departments and local village and commune authorities seemingly do not want to register them as they are afraid their village or commune has too many poor people,” he said.
“After identifying this problem, we invited the Ministry of Planning, which is in charge of equity cards, to address it. I don’t think there are any other issues,” he added.
According to Touch Channy, head of the ministry’s General Department of Technical Affairs, more than 700,000 poor and vulnerable households have received equity cards, including more than 360,000 elderly people. There were some challenges, as this work requires cooperation between national and sub-national officials.
“The issues at the sub-national level’s issues are related to local authorities, commune councils and village chiefs, as some village chiefs do not have a clear understanding of the process,” he added.
According to a 2021 report by the National Institute of Social Affairs, titled “Income of the Elderly and Social Protection in Cambodia during and after the Covid-19 pandemic”, around 55 per cent of the surveyed elderly claimed to have been financially impacted by the pandemic and that their basic living costs were not supported, although 45 per cent of them received cash transfers from the government.