Minister of Social Affairs Vong Sauth has said that poor families who apply for the government equity cards or seek renewals must undergo interviews to find out if they are eligible for aid.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the ministry office, he said recently there have been cases of people claiming they were poor and not receiving aid, but upon examination by the relevant authorities, they did not meet the criteria to receive the subsidies.
Mr Sauth said claims have come from people in Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
“Some residents are not, or are no longer eligible for IDPoor cards. People who had the cards before, their situation may have changed meaning they no longer meet the criteria.
Everyone will need to be assessed. The cash subsidies are only for the very worst off in our society, as per the outlined guidelines of the programme,” he said.
Mr Sauth added that the ministry has not finished conducting interviews for equity cards, so residents who believe they are eligible, should apply to do the official assessment.
The Ministry of Planning on Wednesday also released a clarification in response to residents’ demands, echoing the minister’s words. According to Mr Sauth, 422,184 families out of 562,686 families have received cash aid.
“In the first week of rolling out the subsidies, we have already paid over 80 percent of the applicants who were eligible, with the remaining due shortly,” he said. “We are proud of this programme which so far has encountered very few obstacles, for which we will find a solution,” Sauth said.
Village 4 chief of Chraing Chamreh 2 commune in Russey Keo district Neb Songkha said that the families who apply will then undergo interviews at their place of residence. “We assess all applicants properly to ensure they meet the criteria,” she said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said harsh action will be taken against authorities found committing any irregularities in the disbursement of cash aid for poor and vulnerable families impacted by the pandemic. “I will take strict measures, with no exceptions, if any irregularities are found occurring in any village or commune,” Mr Hun Sen said in a Facebook post.
“To ensure transparency and integrity in the provision of services under the cash relief programme, I strongly urge order among local authorities at all levels, especially those who implement the project directly in all communes, to pay close attention to this work and to avoid any schemes that involve putting their relatives, who are not poor, in the list to receive the cash subsidy,” he said.