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Over $800M spent on cash transfer scheme

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People have received assistance from the programme in 2022 showing their benefits cards. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Over $800M spent on cash transfer scheme

The government has so far spent $837.05 million on its cash transfer programme to support poor and vulnerable people due to the impacts of Covid-19, with the scheme recently extended again for another three months.

The programme has now reached its 10th round with 706,060 households as beneficiaries who have received financial support through 28 month-long distribution periods since it kicked off in June 2020, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, in a statement on October 24.

Those who can benefit from the programme are households holding IDPoor I and II cards across the country, totalling nearly three million people.

In addition to the cash transfer programme during the pandemic, the government on October 5 launched another effort to help ease the impacts of inflation on the poor, with around 600,000 households representing two million people benefiting.

Speaking while addressing the Cambodia Outlook Conference 2022 on October 6, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government put in place this social security fund to support and maintain the stability of livelihoods for poor and vulnerable families.

He said the cash transfer programme for the poor and vulnerable group impacted by Covid-19 will continue until the end of the year, and possibly beyond that, depending on the country’s situation. The aim is to support those who are not yet above the poverty line so that they do not fall further into severe poverty.

He expected that the programme may continue for 2023, noting that should there be any cuts they will be done gradually.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, views the cash transfer programme as the government’s duty during the pandemic.

“This is the government’s duty to ensure the livelihoods of all people to enable them to live in dignity. The government must help provide them with suitable livelihoods, even though it will not make them rich,” he said.

Peou said the government has implemented clear measures for helping them because the support was done through the IDPoor system and the measures are not discriminatory based on political alignment or religion, but for all people in Cambodia.

Chhour Sopanha, director-general of the National Social Assistance Fund (NSAF), said earlier that the cash transfer has been divided into three categories basing on geographical locations – the capital, other urban centres and rural areas. Households receive varying amounts of cash based on the number of their members and which area they are in.

A qualified household living in a rural area receives 200,000 riel ($50) per month, while in the capital and other urban areas they receive on average between $80 and $100 monthly.

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