Aid to shore up IDPoor programme

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Squatters under the Steung Meanchey Bridge in Phnom Penh as measures are being taken to identify the poor and needy. Photo supplied

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Australian government, donated 1,700 computer tablets and software packages to the Ministry of Planning on Wednesday.

The donation will shore up Cambodia’s social protection system with data collected on poor households expected to be completed the same day. The tablets will help to ensure poor families are not slipping through the cracks and missing out on subsidies.

They will allow provincial-city planning departments, district, and commune authorities to register families who need to receive equity cards faster. It will help those families to get the subsidy as soon as possible, said a ministry press release.

Minister Chhay Thorn said at the handover ceremony that the Kingdom’s poor were affected by Covid-19, prompting the government to provide cash support through equity cards.

However, he said there were still some poor families who failed to register to receive the cards.

“To expedite their registration in the communes, the ministry has requested an additional 1,700 tablets from the UNDP. I sincerely thank the UNDP and the Australian government, which contributed support,” Thorn said.

UNDP Cambodia country representative Nick Beresford said the Australian government and UNDP provided the tablets to help expand the scope of the social protection system to ensure registered families receive the cash-transfer support.

Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German international development organisation, also donated €1 million ($1.14 million).

“It’s a contribution to broaden the UN’s social protection work and build a partnership with GIZ to assist the Cambodian government in building a fully digital household identification system,” Beresford said.

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang said the Australian government is proud that the support over the last 10 years, including the provision of the tablets, has helped to build and maintain a system to identify poor households.

“Due to the current poor household identification programme, cash subsidies are helping to stabilise the economy and society during this crisis.

“At the same time, it provides support to the poorest people in Cambodia by using transparent criteria, which is a good result of equity arising from the implementation of the development cooperation programme between the Kingdom and Australia for many years,” Kang said.

The Ministry of Planning ‘s Directorate General of Planning director Theng Panhathorn is producing a report on the progress of implementation.

He said more than 90 per cent of the 560,000 families identified thus far have already withdrawn their subsidy money.