Team Europe – the combined efforts of the EU, its member states and their financial institutions and implementing agencies – is mobilising €443 million ($503 million) in grants and loans to work with Cambodia in fighting Covid-19 and mitigating its socio-economic impacts.
In a press release, the EU also announced it will work with Cambodia to support economic recovery and job creation. That includes strengthening key areas of the economy, public investments for economic development, energy efficiency and green recovery.
The announcement came as Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth urged ASEAN ministers on Wednesday to immediately implement social protection programmes to help the poor and vulnerable in the ASEAN region amid the pandemic .
“Covid-19 has evolved rapidly and has been spreading from one sector to another. We need to respond to it in time,” he said.
He added that the government was committed to implementing existing social protection programmes like providing cash to poor families.
“The government plans to implement the social assistance programme in June to ease the pressure on the vulnerable and poor during the Covid-19 pandemic and social protection cards are being handed out across the country,” he said.
He continued that the government is paying more attention to children under the age of 15, people with disabilities, the elderly, and also AIDS patients,” he said.
Ministry spokesperson Touch Channy told The Post on Thursday that the Cambodian government worried about the effects of transferring money to the poor.
“The governments of many countries are starting to consider the effects of just cash support. Indonesia, for example, lowers the electricity price to 50 per cent,” he said.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said on Thursday that vulnerable people and the poor can be migrants. They may come to live in slums or underdeveloped areas in cities and in rural areas. To help them, the government needs to further track the data of poor identification cards with communes and districts.
“The government has to find a way to provide social protection services. They are really in need of some social services,” he said.
An ASEAN joint statement declared that the 10 ASEAN ministers are committed to ensuring social success.