The first phase of the second round of cash subsidies handed out to poor and vulnerable people during Covid-19 was completed on September 24. Having started on August 24, 2,470,695 people received payouts totalling 115 billion riel ($28.1 million) in cash.
A Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation’s announcement on September 24 said 644,665 families received assistance during the second round of the programme.
It said there are 4,283 poor families in urban areas in Phnom Penh, 26,399 living outside the capital and 613,983 in rural areas. “The second phase of the second round of subsidies runs from September 25 to October 24, 2020,” the ministry said.
The ministry’s Social Welfare Department director Chhour Sopanha told The Post on Monday that the programme was implemented smoothly. Some people had forgotten their codes needed to receive the assistance and some lost the code, but the issues have been resolved and they received their payments.
“The provision of cash to poor and vulnerable households during Covid-19 has been normal, and this is our normal practice,” he said.
Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth said last week that the implementation of the third round of subsidies would depend on the chairman of the National Social Protection Board, who would seek guidance from the prime minister for the next steps.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen has not determined when the Covid-19 aid will end. So, I expect that the third round will continue after we exhaust the cash provision in September. We can’t say for sure whether we will continue for the coming months,” he said.
The government officially announced the implementation of the cash subsidy programme for poor and vulnerable families on June 25. From then to September 24, the government spent 316.7 billion riel ($77.3 million) on the programme.
Soth said according to the data discussed by a relevant working group, the number of poor families could increase to nearly 700,000 in September. The ministry is still allowing people to apply for the subsidy.
UNICEF country director for Cambodia Foroogh Foyouzat praised Cambodia for establishing this programme to help the poor during the Covid-19 crisis.
She called the programme a great solution to help poor families and prevent child labour and trafficking.