The government has advised Phnom Penh and provincial task forces to cooperate with local authorities in helping identify poor families, so they can register and benefit from a planned cash subsidy scheme that aims to help poorer families adversely affected by COVID-19.
The government letter released yesterday, signed by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, stated that in line with the continued efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, the government has organised and implemented several measures, including cash subsidies for poor families to provide immediate intervention for those affected.
The letter read: “The Ministry of Planning has set up a framework and mechanism to identify poor families and it is important that we work together to find families currently unidentified within the system.
“Some poor families that have been affected by COVID-19 have gone under the radar and this has led to further poverty. We need to adjust existing poor family data, remove families whose living conditions have improved and identify families not on the system.”
“This work will be done in cooperation with village and commune authorities. The work will aim to be completed by the end of May for rural areas and June, for urban areas,” the letter added.
The letter also said, “Heads of the Phnom Penh and provincial task forces will cooperate with local authorities to maintain data clarity and eliminate irregularities. They will aid village and commune authorities with selection decisions to ensure the right people receive equity cards for the future cash subsidy scheme planned by the government.”
Planning Ministry spokesman Srey Da yesterday said the working team has been busy updating the data and collecting information. The focus, he said, has been on families most affected by COVID-19 across the capital and provinces.
He said: “The government’s guidance will benefit the work being undertaken to identify poor families and in turn, it will make the data more accurate.”
“The national working group is involved to ensure the scheme helps the right people and prevents subordinates [village and commune authorities] from bias selections. In order to get the best results, we will undertake the identification process together,” added Mr Da. However, Mr Da could not confirm a figure on the government planned subsidies for each family it aims to support.
He said this will be revealed after the phase of identification and registration is completed.
Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said provincial authorities have been carrying out this work meticulously to identify poor families.
He said this was especially so amid the COVID-19 crisis and the detrimental effect it has had on the daily lives of local people in the province.
“We have continued to urge planning officers who are responsible for data collection and identification of the poor to complete work per the government’s guidelines. We also want to promote transparent assessment in order to avoid any criticism from the public in the identification process,” said Mr Ratanak.