The Ministry of Economy and Finance confirmed that relevant institutions are expediting the formulation of a national social assistance programme to enhance support for impoverished families, according to its recent press release.

A meeting convened at the ministry headquarters in the first week of July was attended by the leadership and members of the National Social Protection Council (NSPC), alongside leaders from relevant ministries and institutions.

According to the press release, the draft programme aims to comprehensively benefit families and bolster the likelihood of them receiving social assistance. By reinforcing the institutional governance framework, the programme seeks to increase operational efficiency, strengthen social services and enhance social security schemes.

Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth, who also chairs the NSPC, said: “This social protection framework will serve as a mechanism to strengthen the capacity of the social protection system in response to emergencies”.

He continued: “Notably, the framework clearly defines the scope of impacts, provides timely and effective political tools, and guarantees extensive coordination with relevant parties in response to systemic emergencies. This allows us to anticipate and address them both in the present and future”.

Pornmoniroth also urged the meeting’s attendees to more effectively implement policies introduced by the govermnent.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, expressed support for the social assistance initiative, describing it as vital for poverty-stricken families.

“Given a population of over 16 million, around two million individuals have been issued National Social Security Fund [NSSF] cards, while approximately 2.8 million NSSF cards have been allocated across over 700,000 households. Notably, 10 million people remain without NSSF cards, highlighting a significant disparity. Thus, the importance of this assistance programme is underscored, especially as similar initiatives have already been launched in other countries,” Thorn stated.

He further urged institutions to rapidly broaden the informal economic sector and prepare to include companies in the system, thereby extending the reach of social assistance benefits.