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Hun Sen promotes price lists for public institutions

Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged public institutions to provide clear terms of reference for the services they provide, as part of an effort to attract investment in the Kingdom.

Institutions that did not implement this policy would be punished under the law, he said.

The government, through the Ministry of Economics and Finance and the Anti-Corruption Unit, would issue a price list for public services detailing the services institutions provided and the fees charged for them, Hun Sen said.

“This is a program to fight poverty and corruption, and to urge the public sector to provide services for our people, including local and foreign investors,” he said.

“Auditing is a very important aspect related to the above tasks. The price list of services provided by the public-service sector should clearly include related tasks.”

The Prime Minister said those who offered “excessive payments”, as well as those who profited from them, should be punished legally. “What [has to be done] to register a company? How much [does the applicant] have to pay? If the fee is more than the regulation states, it’s illegal,” he said. “[The regulation] is created to [represent] a standard for us to fight corruption.”

Yem Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, retorted that the punishment of clients was not right, because people would never bribe public-service officials voluntarily.

“The problem is that the system [reaches] from the national to the local [level]. People never get fast, quality service without paying,” Sovann said.

The Prime Minister’s speech was a very important step in encouraging the reform of public institutions, economists and businessmen said yesterday.

Dr Kang Chandararot, director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Study, said people such as vendors complained about public-service fees that were unclear.

This complicated the procedure of running a business or making an investment, Chandarot said.

“It can be a very big help if these things are clearly spelled out, because then we know the fees for public services and can compare them to business environments in Cambodia or in other countries,” he said.

Commenting on the likely effectiveness of the measures announced by the prime minister, Chandarot said it was very important that officials implemented the new regulations according to the law.

Hun Lak, the managing director of Mekong Oryza Trading, said the announcement was good for public services, but it was vital that participants carried out the procedures effectively.

“The task will be successful, because we have enough participants that will jointly implement those measures,” Lak said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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