PM announces plan for social security system

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the inauguration of the National Social Protection Policy Framework yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Touch Sokha and Yesenia Amaro, The Phnom Penh Post
Tue, 25 July 2017

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday announced that the government has plans to have a functioning social security system operational in the country by 2025, including universal health care, unemployment insurance and old-aged pensions.

Speaking at his Peace Palace office building in Phnom Penh, the premier said the government’s National Social Protection Policy Framework 2016-2025 would attempt to expand upon the country’s existing – but limited – social security programmes.

In his speech, Hun Sen said pregnant women and the disabled would be the first to benefit from the new policy.

“I think we should prioritise this point. For example, how much a pregnant woman should receive per month and for how long we are going to assist her during and after her pregnancy,” he said. “We need to think about them during their pregnancy.”

Pregnant women should be covered by next year, he said.

According to a document on the new policy, the new uniform national social security system would create a system covering five areas – pensions, health insurance, employment injury insurance, unemployment insurance and disability insurance.

It said that Cambodians would be encouraged to save parts of their incomes into pension schemes while they are of working age but that the government would also consider making contributions into the scheme on behalf of the poor.

The Council of Ministers approved the policy in March and a “Safety Net Council” was created to oversee its implementation. May Vann, director of the Finance Ministry’s Department of Industry and Finance, said most of the specifics of the policy still need to be figured out but would be operational by 2025.

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កំពូជ​លក់ជាតិ (ដោយ ឈិន-សាតួរា)

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៦ម៉ឺនដុល្លារ បំបិទការតវ៉ា បំបិទមាត់ បំបិទការស៊ើបអង្កេត…(ដោយ អ៊ុម-ហាក់)

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Official in land dispute with PM’s sister arrested

Santuk District Deputy Governor Im Chhorn (right) is escorted into Prey Sar prison last week in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Khouth Sophak Chakrya, The Phnom Penh Post
Tue, 25 July 2017

A deputy district governor in Kampong Thom has been charged with fraud over a $2 million land deal with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sister, Hun Seng Ny, a court official said yesterday.

Im Chhorn, the deputy governor of Santuk district, was arrested last week following a complaint lodged by the prominent businesswoman and has been detained in Prey Sar prison to await trial, according to Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin.

Chhorn was charged with fraud on Thursday and now faces up to three years in jail, the spokesman said, for allegedly failing to deliver a land title to Seng Ny after striking a deal in 2015 to provide 1,500 hectares of land in exchange for more than $2 million.

According to local media reports, Chhorn claimed he had bought the land and transferred the documents marking the sale to Seng Ny last year but that the title had not been arranged yet because Land Ministry officials were preoccupied with the June 4 commune elections.

Santuk District Governor Yuos Panharith yesterday repeated this defence and said that the land itself had already been handed to Seng Ny. “I do not know [why Chhorn was accused], because the 1,500 hectares of land were given to Hun Seng Ny already by Im Chhorn’s team and at this time, her company is developing on the land,” he said.

Seng Ny could not be reached for comment.

San Chey, head of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he believed that government officials should not act as brokers in private land transfers because it could create a a conflict of interest when they or their colleagues are called upon to resolve such disputes.

“I think that if the case is related to the individual interest, and in case it relates to the power abuse, it could fall under the case of corruption too,” Chey said.

“I think government officials should stay away from this case. Because of their power, their position may affect the decision-making of the citizens.”

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អាវុធ​ដែល​ជន​សង្ស័យ​ឃុបឃិត​ជាមួយ​ជនជាតិ​ថៃ ជួញដូរ​នៅ​ប្រទេស​ថៃ។ រូបថត​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២១ ខែ​កក្កដា ឆ្នាំ​២០១៧។ Photo Provided

ដោយ ហ៊ុំ ចំរើន RFA 2017-07-24

សមត្ថកិច្ច​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ បញ្ជូន​ជន​សង្ស័យ ៣​នាក់​ដែល​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ការ​ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​ខុស​ច្បាប់ ទៅ​សាលា​ដំបូង​ខេត្ត​នេះ​កាល​ពី​ព្រឹក​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៤ កក្កដា។ ស្នងការ​រង​នគរបាល​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ អះអាង​ថា ជន​ទាំង ៣​នាក់​នោះ​មាន​ជាប់​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​ជាមួយ​ជនជាតិ​ថៃ ពី​ការ​ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​នៅ​ប្រទេស​ថៃ ដែល​ត្រូវ​សមត្ថកិច្ច​ឃាត់​ខ្លួន​កាល​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២១ កក្កដា។

ស្នងការ​រង​នគរបាល​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ ទទួល​បន្ទុក​ផ្នែក​ព្រហ្មទណ្ឌ លោក សិទ្ធ ឡោះ ឲ្យ​ដឹង​នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៤ កក្កដា ថា មុន​ពេល​ឃាត់​ជន​សង្ស័យ​ទាំង ៣​នាក់​មក​សាកសួរ សមត្ថកិច្ច​បាន​ចុះ​ស៊ើប​អង្កេត​រយៈពេល ២​ថ្ងៃ​នៅ​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​ស្រុក​ម៉ាឡៃ បន្ទាប់​ពី​ទទួល​ដំណឹង​តាម​បណ្ដាញ​សារព័ត៌មាន​របស់​ថៃ ដែល​អ្នក​ទាំងនោះ​មាន​ជាប់​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​ជាមួយ​ជនជាតិ​ថៃ ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​ខុស​ច្បាប់​នៅ​ប្រទេស​ថៃ។

លោក​បន្ត​ថា ជន​ទាំង ៣​នាក់​ត្រូវ​បាន​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​ដល់​សាលា​ដំបូង​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ ហើយ​កាល​ពី​ព្រឹក​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៤ កក្កដា ដើម្បី​បន្ត​នីតិវិធី​តាម​ផ្លូវ​ច្បាប់៖ «ដោយ​ឮ​ថា​ចេញ​តាម​ច្រក​នេះ​នោះ​អ៊ីចឹង​ទៅ យើង​សហការ​ជាមួយ​សមត្ថកិច្ច​ថៃ ដើម្បី​បញ្ជាក់​តាម​ព័ត៌មាន​របស់​ថៃ ហើយ​យើង​ក៏​ធ្វើ​ការ​ស្រាវជ្រាវ​តាម​នោះ។ អាវុធ​អត់​មាន​ចាប់ តែ​ចាប់​បាន​តែ​មនុស្ស ៣​នាក់»។

ទាក់ទង​នឹង​បញ្ហា​នេះ អ្នក​នាំ​ពាក្យ និង​ជា​ព្រះរាជអាជ្ញា​រង​នៃ​សាលា​ដំបូង​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ លោក សុខ កែវបណ្ឌិត មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​យ៉ាង​ខ្លី​ថា ប៉ូលិស​ពិត​ជា​បាន​បញ្ជូន​ជន​សង្ស័យ​មក​ដល់​សាលា​ដំបូង​ខេត្ត​ប្រាកដ​មែន ហើយ​លោក​ក៏​កំពុង​សាកសួរ​អ្នក​ទាំង ៣​នាក់ ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ករណី​ការ​ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​នេះ។
ជន​សង្ស័យ​ទាំង ៣​នាក់​រួម​មាន ឈ្មោះ យឹម សាវី ភេទ​ប្រុស អាយុ ៣៨​ឆ្នាំ រស់នៅ​ភូមិ​ប្រាំពីរ ឃុំ​បួរ ស្រុក​ភ្នំព្រឹក ខេត្ត​បាត់ដំបង ឈ្មោះ ជឹម លីន អាយុ ៣៣​ឆ្នាំ រស់នៅ​ភូមិ​ឈើទាល ឃុំ​សេរីមានជ័យ ស្រុក​សំពៅលូន ខេត្ត​បាត់ដំបង និង​ឈ្មោះ អប់ វីរៈ ហៅ ឡេង អាយុ ៤៨​ឆ្នាំ មុខ​របរ​ជា​បុគ្គលិក​ស៊ីម៉ាក់ (CMAC) រស់នៅ​សង្កាត់​អូរចារ ក្រុង​បាត់ដំបង។ ក្នុង​ចំណោម​នោះ​មាន​មនុស្ស ២​នាក់ សមត្ថកិច្ច​ចាប់​ខ្លួន​នៅ​ស្រុក​ម៉ាឡៃ ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ និង​ម្នាក់​ទៀត​ចាប់​ខ្លួន​នៅ​ស្រុក​សំពៅលូន ខេត្ត​បាត់ដំបង។

មន្ត្រី​សម្របសម្រួល​សមាគម​ការពារ​សិទ្ធិ​មនុស្ស​អាដហុក (ADHOC) ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ លោក ស៊ុំ ច័ន្ទគា មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​ថា ករណី​ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​ឆ្លង​ដែន​នេះ គឺ​ជា​អំពើ​ខុស​ច្បាប់ ដែល​សមត្ថកិច្ច​ត្រូវ​ស្រាវជ្រាវ​ចាប់​ជន​សង្ស័យ​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​យក​មក​ផ្ដន្ទាទោស​តាម​ផ្លូវ​ច្បាប់៖ «ទាំងអស់​នេះ​បញ្ជាក់​ឲ្យ​ឃើញ​ថា មិន​មែន​ជា​រឿង​ដែល​កម្ពុជា គ្មាន​នោះ​ទេ។ សមត្ថកិច្ច​ទប់ស្កាត់​ការ​ជួញដូរ​អាវុធ​ខុស​ច្បាប់ ជា​ការ​ប្រសើរ​មួយ ដែល​កាត់​បន្ថយ​នូវ​ការ​បាញ់​សម្លាប់ ការ​ប្លន់​ប្រដាប់​អាវុធ​ផ្សេងៗ​ដែល​នាំ​ឲ្យ​ប៉ះពាល់​ដល់​ការ​រស់នៅ​របស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ»។

ទោះ​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា ស្នងការ​រង​នគរបាល​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយមានជ័យ លោក សិទ្ធ ឡោះ ពុំ​បាន​បញ្ជាក់​អំពី​អាវុធ​ដែល​ជន​សង្ស័យ​ជួញដូរ​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទឹកដី​ថៃ នោះ​ទេ។ ប៉ុន្តែ​កាសែត​ក្នុង​ស្រុក​មួយ​ចំនួន​ឲ្យ​ដឹង​ថា អាវុធ​ទាំងនោះ​ជា​កាំភ្លើង​ធំ​ប្រភេទ​ដេកា (DK) ចំនួន ៣​ដើម និង​ឧបករណ៍​បង្កៃ​គ្រាប់បែក​ចំនួន ៣​គ្រាប់។ លោក សិទ្ធ ឡោះ អះអាង​ថា សមត្ថកិច្ច​បន្ត​ស្រាវជ្រាវ​រក​អ្នក​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​ក្នុង​ករណី​នេះ​នៅ​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​ស្រុក​ម៉ាឡៃ ដើម្បី​យក​មក​សាកសួរ​បន្ត​ទៀត៕

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Business Insider: Spreading care with worker benefits

iCare Benefits Cambodia Country Director Molika Meas photographed at her office last week in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

The Phnom Penh Post,  Post Staff
Mon, 24 July 2017

With the majority of garment and low-income workers ineligible for traditional financial services to purchase daily products like mobile phones and cooking stoves, iCare Benefits Cambodia hopes to fill in the gap by getting products to end consumers. With the Cambodian operations having recently been given a boost from a private equity fund, The Post’s Kali Kotoski sat down with Country Director Molika Meas to talk about the company’s expansion plans.

What is the history of iCare Benefits? 

The company started four years ago with the mission to provide workers with immediate access to essential products and services. We try to enable workers to improve their quality of life without the burden of onerous interest payments. By being based in Singapore, our activities now reach over 3 million workers in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia.

As for Cambodia, we launched in March 2015. About three-quarters of the workers we work with are women. For these workers, the ability to purchase essential items such as refrigerators, cooking stoves, household furnishings and mobile phones provides them with more work incentives and helps companies to have fewer turnovers. The programme does not involve onerous financing burdens in addition to basic costs of the products we sell.

Since iCare Benefits Cambodia launched, how have operations been going? 

In the last two years, the company has been able to establish several distribution centres to reduce transportation costs in some of the provinces further away from Phnom Penh. We have become the main source of purchasing products for many of these workers that tend to be employed in garment factories. Actually, from our own internal surveys, 93 percent of the workers who have used our platform claim that iCare has saved them money.

How many firms have partnered with the programme? 

At the moment, there are more than 100 companies in Cambodia signed up across Phnom Penh, Takeo, Kandal and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

However, given that is only a fraction of the country. We plan to expand to all 25 provinces in the next two years. This expansion will ensure that we have a higher impact given that the garment
factory sector employs around 700,000 workers.

How does a member-based programme operate and what is the business model? 

We operate as a social impact membership-based retailer service model for blue collar workers in industrial zones that make the basic minimum wage or have a middle-class life. As a retailer, we provide products and services at competitive prices by purchasing in bulk and we have two payment methods for our clients. The first is with a cash payment. And the second is a deferred repayment with up to six months installments with no interest. In order to protect workers from overspending on our retail platform, and to reinforce responsible spending habits, we only allow purchases that are no higher than 30 percent of their monthly salary.

Another benefit of our business model is that we estimate that it decreases the consumers total cost of access by 20 to 50 percent. This is because there are no extra fees, zero interest, and we deliver the products directly to the factories.

How will the partnership with Emerging Markets Investment Advisers (EMIA) help the firm grow in Cambodia?

Their investment provides us with the capital required to continue to grow and expand operations more widely into Cambodia. EMIA’s experience and broad network of relationships will be valuable to us in the future. Also, because our investors are European development financial institutions and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), it helps us to maintain transparency and corporate governance.

Where does the company fit in compared to traditional forms of leasing or lending activities? 

We are not a leasing or financing firm, but we are a retailer. But most workers earning a minimum wage do not qualify for formal consumer finance. And the typical alternative to cash payments is informal loans from friends or family or loan shark lending with very high interest rates.

In order to bridge the financing and retail gap, we have deferred payments that help disrupt the poverty cycle and reliance on informal lending. We have seen great pick-up in the factories where the programme is deployed and substantial growth in the number of workers entering iCare’s debt-reducing cycle. Additionally, we estimate that by using the programme, workers save an average of two months of disposable income per year because of the drastic reduction in interest payments and other related costs.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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