Approximately 700,000 households totalling close to three million people have been paid a monthly stipend during the Covid-19 pandemic by the government as part of the cash assistance programme for poor and economically vulnerable families who hold IDPoor 1 or IDPoor 2 cards.
As the Covid-19 situation eases, this cash transfer programme will in January be replaced with strategies that aim to rehabilitate and promote Cambodia’s economic growth in the context of Covid-19, according to Phan Phalla, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state and secretary-general of the Economic and Financial Policy Committee.
Phalla explained the change in policy during a press conference organised by the government’s public relations office on December 14.
“The government set out measures to help the poor after Cambodia began experiencing economic disruptions due to the Covid-19 crisis from the beginning of 2020.The government has been putting in place measures to stabilise people’s lives as well as to stabilize people’s businesses,” he said.
He said that over the past two years the programme to provide cash to poor households during the fight against Covid-19 introduced measures to replace the income Cambodians were losing from measures like curfews, lockdowns and travel restrictions, with the last round of payments authorised in October to run through the end of this month.
“From January 2022 onwards ....we will focus on a strategy for restoring and promoting Cambodia’s economic growth,” he said.
According to Phalla, the roughly 680,000 households that hold IDPoor 1 and IDPoor 2 cards – approximately 2.7 million people – have been receiving monthly cash from the government since the Covid-19 crisis began.
“Other social assistance programmes that we have implemented in the past will still continue such as cash programmes for pregnant women and meals for schoolchildren,” he said.
At the end of October, the government decided to extend the programme of cash assistance to the poor and vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis for another three months from October to December 2021.
According to a report from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, from June 25 last year to November 24 of this year, the government spent more than $501 million on assistance programmes that helped more than 680,000 households affected by the crisis.
Support for the poor is divided into three categories: urban poor in Phnom Penh, urban poor outside the capital and poor in rural areas. Each household receives cash according to the number of members and which of the three categories they fall into.