Myanmar & COVID-19

Yangon Begins Cash Payments to Pandemic-Affected Workers Not Covered by Welfare

By Thazin Hlaing 30 October 2020

YANGON—The Yangon Region government on Wednesday started distributing cash payments to workers not registered with the government’s social safety net.

The government has begun providing 30,000 kyats (about US$23.25) each to over 20,000 people, including daily wage earners at government departments and other workers not registered with the safety net who have applied for the cash contributions, according to Yangon Region Immigration and Human Resources Minister Daw Moe Moe Suu Kyi.

“We have started making cash payments to daily wage earners at government departments, and over 22,000 workers who have applied for cash contributions online,” she said.

The Yangon regional government said that eventually it planned to pay 30,000 kyats each to all of the more than 680,000 workers who are not registered with the social safety net.

U Thet Hnin Aung, the general secretary of the Myanmar Industries Craft and Services Trade Union, said, “The number may be higher than 680,000 if odd job workers are also counted. So, the regional government needs to state clearly on which data it based its count.”

Daw Moe Moe Suu Kyi called on all parties involved to work together to ensure that all unregistered workers can receive social security benefits.

“We will issue cash contributions for employees not registered with the social safety net. Employees and employers need to cooperate so that all the employees can get cash contributions. And we will also make sure they are eligible for the contributions,” she said.

The Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population covered 40 percent of the salaries of employees of factories ordered to close temporarily by the government in September and October.

A total of 3,440 businesses have applied for cash contributions since the COVID-19 crisis began. As of Oct. 21, the Labor Ministry had granted over 16 billion kyats to some 250,000 registered workers from 1,765 businesses.

As of Friday, Myanmar had reported 50,403 COVID-19 cases with 30,007 recoveries and 1,199 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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