US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy told a press conference on Thursday that the US will provide $7.5 million in grants to the Cambodian government to help it address the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said $5 million will be designated to help restore the economy while the remaining $2.5 million will go to the Kingdom’s health sector. The funding was provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The contributions will help the Kingdom test for Covid-19, improve the health sector and help the economy recover, he said.
“We all know that the pandemic has posed economic challenges and affected peoples’ livelihoods. A portion of the funding will be dedicated to helping those who have been most affected by the global pandemic,” said Murphy.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth told the press conference that in the short term, the grant will be used to improve the daily lives of Cambodians.
He said the funding will also help rearrange vocational training programmes for affected people in the private sector.
“The government and the Cambodian people thank the US government and people for providing timely and targeted intervention assistance. It is a meaningful gesture for the Cambodian people,” he said.
The government plans to launch social assistance programmes to ease peoples’ hardships and provide stability by providing cash transfers to poor and vulnerable families.
It also plans on creating a cash-for-work programme and short-term skills training workshops to increase workers’ abilities and enable them to find new jobs.
“The Covid-19 disease not only has a serious impact on public health, but it also threatens social and economic development worldwide, including Cambodia,” he said.
Murphy said the US has provided more than $11 million in aid to the Cambodian government since the outbreak of Covid-19.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has said that more than 180 factories in the Kingdom had suspended operations while another 60 were at risk of shutting down.
It added that 200,000 garment workers were directly affected and two million indirectly affected by the virus.
As of April 29, 2,865 of 9,689 tourism businesses have been suspended or closed, affecting 46,369 employees, while 96 of 6,416 tour guides have suspended their licences, Fresh News quoted Minister of Tourism Thong Khon as saying at a press conference.