Advocacy Brief – Delivering Cash Transfers to the Poor Through the Laos Agricultural Promotion Bank (APB)

HIGHLIGHTS

APB has proved itself to be an efficient and cost effective service provider for the delivery of the monthly stipend/cash transfer element of the RLP pilot. Using the services of a state owned banking institution and channeling the stipend/transfers through bank accounts has made the provision of cash transfer more acceptable and allayed early concerns about the distribution of cash.

APB is extremely cost effective. On an annual basis, it costs KIP40.8 million[1] to provide the 1,200 RLP recipients with KIP1,656 million2 worth of cash transfers. This is equivalent to an operation cost/service charge of 2.56%. When the annual interest rate of 1.96%, which is offered on deposits, is taken into account, the effective operational cost/service charge drops to just 0.60% per annum.

Another early finding from the RLP experience is that distance does not seem to be a significant factor in determining access to bank accounts.  These finding are relevant in the context of identifying delivery systems for expanded social assistance programmes in the future, which has proven to be a major challenge in many other countries.

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Social Protection and Sustainable Livelihoods is an Australian government funded project implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and managed by Maxwell Stamp PLC
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