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Senior Official of the Ministry of Economy Confirms Cambodia is Ready to Respond to Future Crises

PHNOM PENH: The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy, Phan Phalla, has said that in the strategy to recover from Covid-19, Cambodia set three main goals: rehabilitation, reform, and strengthening of resilience to ensure Cambodia's ability to respond to future crises.

Speaking at “The Launch of the Socio-Economic Impact Evaluation of the Covid-19 Cash Transfer Program for Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19” on Wednesday, 27 July, at the Sofitel Hotel, Secretary of State Phan Phalla said that the Covid-19 crisis caused the Cambodian economy to experience a slowdown for the first time in 2020. Through this experience, the Royal Government has put in place a recovery strategy to ensure the resilience of the economy during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, especially to ensure that Cambodia remains more stable in the face of future crises.

He said, "The crisis will continue. The important thing is not only to recover in the short term, but to recover and stand in the long run."

In 2020, the Cambodian economy decreased by about 3 percent, while in 2021 it once again grew by 3 percent. In 2022, the national economy is estimated to grow by around 5.4 percent. This increase underscores the legitimacy of the Royal Government's anti-Covid-19 campaign, which has seen the wide scale vaccination of communities, socioeconomic rehabilitation, and the implementation of cash subsidies for poor and vulnerable families.

The Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Secretary-General of the National Social Protection Council, Chan Narith, has stated that the implementation of the program to provide financial assistance to poor and vulnerable families not only helps those vulnerable groups, but also helps the wider economy as well.

He said, "This cash subsidy is to help families, but the families that received the money did not just keep it somewhere, they needed it to spend in the economy. Please be informed that providing US $30 million a month is a large amount of money in the history of Cambodia, and this money is thrown back into the economy, our brothers and sisters spend it in the local economy, which helps propel the economy forward, it is not only localized but it is all over the country."

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the launch of a cash aid program for poor and vulnerable families during the fight against Covid-19 on 24 June 2020.

The First Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Cambodia, Benita Chudleigh, has stated that the program not only protects vulnerable people but also provides evidence for studies to increase the effectiveness of social protection.

The Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP in Cambodia, Sonali Dayaratne, said the UNDP would continue to support this mechanism. She added that over the past 25 months, the cash assistance program has helped many people ensure the prevention of Covid-19 and has also contributed to community resilience and poverty reduction.

Between 25 June 2020 and 24 July 2022, the government provided more than US $744 million to poor and vulnerable families during the fight against Covid-19, benefiting nearly 700,000 families and nearly 3 million people.

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