The government plans to spend $165 million in 2024 to benefit 2.8 million equity cardholders from around 700,000 households, with disbursements set to commence next April.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation recently stated that the package is a crucial component of the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), as outlined in phase one of the government’s Pentagonal Strategy.

“There are four programmes to be integrated under the family package: cash support for pregnant women and under 2-year-old children, scholarships for primary and secondary school students from poor families, and cash support for people with disabilities and … for elderly people from the age of 60,” it said. 

Prime Minister Hun Manet emphasised in December the necessity of building a comprehensive, integrated and automatic social protection system, particularly to bolster public healthcare during emergencies and crises, as delineated in the National Social Protection Policy Framework (NSPPF) 2016-25.

Social affairs minister Chea Somethy recently noted that cash support for families will serve as a backup for the social protection plan once the cash transfers for households affected by Covid-19 conclude.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng instructed authorities across all 14 districts and 105 communes last week to update records of IDPoor cardholders, both level 1 and level 2, as well as the count of vulnerable individuals to ensure targeted support.

“The government has invested significantly in these social protection schemes. As enforcement officials of the programme, it is imperative we allocate our budget accurately to the intended recipients, ensuring assistance reaches the ‘real poor’. This will alleviate any concerns over jealousy among the population,” he stated.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP), expressed his endorsement of the government’s programmes, noting the funds were appropriately utilised.

He urged those managing the support to maintain transparency and effectiveness and to ensure the assistance reaches the genuinely needy.

“The recent social support [initiative] had some issues, such as a lack of transparency. This is partly because local officials may not have followed the government’s instructions correctly,” he said.

The National Social Protection Council (NSPC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) recently noted that the government’s social protection strategy, aimed at those affected by floods and inflation and which concluded in July, had a positive impact on the targeted families. 

The government allocated $55.7 million to the programmes and reported that 97 per cent of the beneficiaries were satisfied and supportive of the cash transfer initiative.