Economic development necessitates social protection which includes Social Security and Social Assistance. 

Written by H.E Samheng Boros

The Royal Government of Cambodia’s primary priorities are to uphold peace, political stability, and national security. These are very important prerequisites to achieving the economic development that would allow Cambodia to rise once again and establish itself as a developed country. 

Since the beginning of the economic recovery, the Royal Government has paid special attention to a number of social protection programs with the intention of enhancing human resource capacity and protecting the dignity of its citizens.

Cambodia worked assiduously and constructively to enhance its image after the total restoration of peace in 1998. The nation’s efforts to start developing each distinct economic sector have been successful. The people of Cambodia have benefited from peace, political stability, and rapid economic growth, with an average annual growth of 7.7% during the past 20 years.

The Royal Government’s vision and goal is to raise Cambodia to a high-income country by 2050 and an upper-middle income country by 2030. In this context, the Royal Government firmly acknowledges that the social security (job related insurance) system plays a significant role in promoting “economic progress with equality and inclusiveness.”

Social security is not a new thought. The security of people from unexpected life circumstances has long been legitimised into policy settings in many countries. In order to achieve or maintain an adequate standard of living and good health throughout their lives, women, men, and children can benefit from a number of policies known as social protection.

By supporting productive labor markets, reducing people’s exposure to risks, and boosting their ability to defend themselves against hazards and disruptions or losses of income, a collection of policies and programs known as social protection are designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability.

There are five main components of social protection: Labor markets, Social insurance, Social assistance (cash transfer programs), Micro- and area-based community protection programs and Child protection.

In Cambodia interest in social protection has increased. The government has launched numerous social protection schemes. One of these social protection initiatives is the NSSF, which has greatly benefited workers in the formal sector, particularly those in the apparel industry. According to the NSSF, 80,000 female garment workers received $7.9 million in maternity benefits through this scheme in 2020 alone.

Approximately 300,000 female employees in the formal and informal sectors who gave birth between January 2018 and March 2022 received cash assistance totaling $30.1 million, according to the National Social Protection Council. Additionally, this program helped at least 560,000 households with IDPoor cards in 2020.

At the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in Cambodia, some of the temporarily laid-off garment factory workers also received assistance in the form of cash-based transfer programs. Additionally, there are programs for vulnerable primary and secondary students to get scholarships and meals at school.

Research is required to gather information on advanced techniques to better comprehend the social and economic effects of various pandemic containment strategies.

The assessment of actions implemented by governments utilizing a variety of techniques, including social protection, is also vital to take into account.

While immediate social protections are essential during a pandemic crisis, governments must plan for long-term measures to speed recovery and policies to attain greater income security in the months and years to come. Cambodia is following this path.

Photos: Samheng Boros Facebook page & National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Cambodia

H.E Samheng Boros is Minister attached to the Prime Minister , Royal Government of Cambodia and Chairman of National Social Assistance Fund Board (NSAF) and Secretary of State at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY).

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