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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Decentralisation to get $82 million in govt, private funding in '09

Decentralisation to get $82 million in govt, private funding in '09

The program hopes to focus the new budget on capacity-building programs that will promote job growth at district, commune levels

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T he committee’s 2009 budget has benefitted from increased funding by 16 private developmental partners, including the UN Development Program, the World Bank, Denmark-based Danida and several other foreign NGOs.

THE government has budgeted US$82 million next year to the National Committee for the Management of Decentralisation and Deconcentration (D&D), the program through which the Kingdom's administration is being  reshaped,officials said at a Ministry of Interior workshop on Tuesday.

Some funds will be allocated to development and service projects at the national, provincial, district and commune levels, Keat Chhon, minister of finance and chairman of the committee, told workshop attendees.

One-third of the budget, some $26 million, will come from Cambodia's national budget, he said, while development partners - including foreign NGOs and UN agencies - will contribute the remaining funds.

They can't just count off... roads and irrigation systems they plan to build.

The D&D program was first implemented by the Interior Ministry in 2002 to help shift administrative functions from Phnom Penh-based line ministries to the province,  district or commune level.

Prum Sokha, secretary of state for the Interior Ministry, said the government has increased its budget allocation to the program since 2002, when funds were only 1.5 percent of national revenues. The budget last year was $22.9 million.

The budget figures announced Tuesday represent estimates of how the funds will be allocated and could vary, Chhieng Yanara, secretary general of the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC), told the workshop.

He said the budget includes $42.8 million in direct funds for the commune level - an increase of 31 percent over last year's figures - which breaks down to $6.3 million for district projects, $13.2 million for the provinces and $8.37 million for national programs.

The government will also spend $15 million outside the budget to fund social and environmental capacity-building programs, he added.

Chhor Sophal, deputy chief of party for the Local Administration and Reform Program, said he was pleased with the D&D committee's work so far but that programs need to be implemented at a faster pace.

He said the government needs to make funds available at the commune level more quickly. He also suggested the D&D's commune committees must get local residents more involved in projects and better explain how they can benefit from them.

"They can't just count off the number of new roads and irrigation systems they plan to build," he said. 

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