Cash handout programme 80% complete

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Social Affairs minister Vong Soth. Heng Chivoan

Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families.

The programme was introduced one week ago.

Soth’s confirmation came at a press conference on Progress on the challenges, dilemmas and protests of the Cash-In-Poverty Programme for Poor and Vulnerable People by Covid-19 at the ministry on Thursday.

“We are now handing out more than 80% of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 to more than 562,686 families nationwide,” Soth said.

He expected that within another week, all of the handouts will be disbursed to eligible recipients. He said some complications which occurred during the implementation of the cash programme were minor compared to the overall results that was achieved.

Soth referenced a recent Facebook post by Prime Minister Hun Sen which warned that authorities would face legal action if they defrauded the programme.

“This is an important message to remind officials working on the programme to avoid affecting the people’s benefit. There is no deduction or service fee payment in providing the benefit to people,” he said.

Soth said abnormalities with the implementation of the programme occurred in Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang and Banteay Meanchey provinces. But the problems had been solved legally and the programme resumed operations.

On June 24, the government issued a national budget package totalling $125 million to help 560,000 poor and vulnerable people in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 crisis.

On June 30, Hun Sen announced that after the official launch of the cash programme, local authorities would be responsible for managing it.

Village chiefs and commune councillors were warned not to dupe the system by including their rich relatives for the assistance.

Hun Sen said: “I will take serious action and no one will be exempt if it is found in any village or commune.”

The Ministry of Planning’s director-general of planning Theng Panha Thon told The Post that the update of poor families was in its second phase.

“We have officially discussed that we will be able to submit the figures [second update of the number of poor families] to the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on July 7 or 8,” he said.