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81st gov’t cash payout set for tourism workers

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Visitors taking a tour in Kampong Chhnang province in November 2020. Hong Menea

81st gov’t cash payout set for tourism workers

The government, through the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, has announced the 81st payment for the nearly 2,500 workers whose employment remains suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis. The payments are in line with the spirit of the government’s third round intervention package, said the ministry.

A May 18 ministry announcement said the cash allowances were available to 2,496 suspended workers from 33 tourism enterprises.

The announcement said that Wing Specialized Bank will send details about the payments to the telephone number each worker provided to the ministry in the past.

According to the ministry, this allowance will be paid in riel. Payment will depend on the number of days the contract was suspended. Workers who were off work for between 11 and 20 days will receive 120,000 riel ($30), while those who were suspended for up to a full month will be supported with 60,000 riel ($40).

The ministry reminded recipients that workers must withdraw their allowance within 10 days.

“In order to withdraw this allowance, workers will have to present a valid Cambodian national ID and be in possession of the phone number that received the message. No fees will be charged by Wing agents for this service,” the ministry said.

Mam Rithy, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation, told The Post that continued payment of cash support to workers in the tourism sector – which remains affected by the pandemic – is a great example of the attention the government is paying to the wellbeing of the people.

“Congratulations are due for the government’s decision to continue to help tourism workers. Many of them have not returned to work yet, as some hotels remain shuttered. The garment and footwear industries are recovering, although there are still some factories which remain closed, or only partially open. This means there are many people who have not yet returned to work. I think if the government can afford it, they should try to help everyone who has become unemployed due to the pandemic,” he said.

Rithy, who works in the tourism sector, said that the sector will be affected in the long run should the Covid-19 virus continue to mutate into new variants.

“We do not know whether there will be another level of variants. Other countries seem to be discovering new forms of the virus fairly regularly, so the tourism sector may take five years to recover to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

During the two years the government has used a significant portion of the state budget supporting people and sectors which were affected by the pandemic. As of April, it had provided cash support to more than 2.7 million poor and vulnerable families across the country, at a cost of more than $600 million.

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