Prime Minister Hun Manet has announced the rollout of a new social security scheme and a technical vocational training programme, which he referred to as “new milestones for Cambodia”. He appealed to all future trainees to pay close attention to what they were taught, so they gained practical, real-world skills.

He delivered his remarks as he presided over the November 14 formal launch of the “Social security scheme of health care through voluntary contributions for self-employed persons and members of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)”, and the “Technical Vocational Training Programme”, which targets young people from impoverished and vulnerable households.

“Today marks a historic day for social security system development and technical vocational training in Cambodia. When we talk about human capital, we need to focus on two factors – health and capacity. Today, we are launching two programmes which focus on human capital,” he said.

He added that over five million people will benefit from the programmes. 

On October 24, he launched a health care programme for vulnerable households. Administered by the NSSF, it covers over four million people. The government’s health care programmes now benefit over nine million people, which demonstrates the government’s commitment to its goal of improving the lives of all of its people.

“We care for the wellbeing of the people from before birth. Every generation of Cambodian governments has cared for the wellbeing and capacity of the people,” he continued.

Citing a study, Manet said that the average worker may need to spend up to $250 per year on healthcare if they are not entitled to government support. He explained that this is the reason that a large number of people are afraid to consult a doctor about their health concerns. Unfortunately, this meant that in some cases, they allowed themselves to fall seriously ill, often leaving treatment too late to save themselves from permanent disability, or worse.

“The NSSF has become a symbol of the growth of our people, including workers and employees. It has reduced their spending and even strengthened their mental stability. As well as improving their welfare, it means they can forecast their own incomes more accurately,” he said.

He also offered encouragement to the young people who would receive vocational training under the new programme.

“You need to focus on the skills that are on offer. The government is providing you with a special opportunity, but ultimately it is up to you to take advantage of it,” he added.

Manet explained that the training will provide them with vocational and technical skills, which will in turn reduce the skills- gap and improve productivity. In addition, a skilled workforce will stimulate economic growth.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Heng Sour agreed that expanding the scope of the health care scheme for self-employed persons and other members of the NSSF marked another new chapter for Cambodia.

“Today’s ceremony marks two significant developments, both of which are part of phase one of the Pentagonal Strategy, introduced by Prime Minister Hun Manet on August 29. The strategy aims to increase income, guarantee good working conditions, strengthen harmony and professional relationships, while also offering social protection and vocational skills for workers, employees and their families,” he said.

The labour minister explained that self-employed persons and members of the NSSF – including their spouses and dependent children – gained access to the health care scheme for just 15,600 riel per month. They will receive treatment and health care services from all state hospitals, as well as those private institutions which are in partnership with the NSSF.

He added that a self-employed woman who has made nine-months of contributions in a row will receive a maternity care allowance when she delivers a baby, and a cremation allowance when she dies.

“The implementation of these two programmes will expand health care services to over 9 million people.  Many foreign nations have complimented Cambodia for moving towards universal health coverage in such a short time,” he said.