Minister of Planning Chhay Than has told all city and provincial governors to closely monitor the process of identifying poor families to help ensure they can receive financial assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Than was speaking during the opening of a training course on May 11 at Kep Provincial Hall. The course was organised to improve the process of identifying poor families.

The ministry quoted a Facebook post by Than made on the same day: “I would like to request His Excellencies to cooperate on and monitor this work regularly to avoid reactions from the people when the Royal Government of Cambodia starts implementing intervention offerings.

“We found that some people were not interested in benefits when we interviewed them, but when they needed them or saw their neighbours in the village receive benefits, they react,” Than said in the Facebook post.

He said that according to government guidelines, the ministry will continue updating data concerning poor families in rural areas until the end of May and in urban areas until the end of June.

Minister of Planning Chhay Than wants to streamline the process of identifying poor families in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo supplied

The ministry also monitors cases of families rising out of poverty, which would exclude them from getting benefits.

Ministry spokesman Nop Kornavuth told The Post on Tuesday that the ministry believed in this collaboration request and said this work was “absolutely necessary” because it is the government’s policy.

“It must be done. But we don’t know about the results yet. This process is just to make sure we have updates first, so we can intervene immediately during the Covid-19 period.

“There is no time to postpone, we need to have the policy planned by the end of May,” he said.

The executive director of Cambodia-based Affiliated Network for Social Accountability San Chey told The Post on Tuesday that the identification of the poor should take place in a transparent manner.

Chey said he wants local authorities to speak up truthfully to make sure the right families are being helped.

He said he is concerned that local authorities were hiding information and are not being transparent because of the fear of losing face.

“We want to be able to recognise the facts regarding the identity of the poor. If the problem is clear, we can target the problems and address them properly,” he said.