A government official yesterday cautioned against raising the salaries of the country’s civil servants too quickly at a meeting where lawmakers and officials discussed the thinking surrounding the recently announced 2016 national budget.
Vongsey Vissoth, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said yesterday that while significantly raising civil servants’ salaries by 2018 would be necessary to keep in line with promises made by Prime Minister Hun Sen, it couldn’t be done in the 2016 budget, which he pegged at $4.2 billion at current exchange rates.
“The 2016 budget’s first priority is social affairs and maintenance,” he said, noting that salaries would have to rise over the next three years in tandem with administrative reforms.
While the 2016 budget represents an 11 per cent increase over the 2015 version, Vissoth and Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth declined to comment in detail on the allocation of expenditures.
Moniroth, however, yesterday promised a circular regarding the budget in the first week of next month.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said that while aspects of the meeting had been helpful, the lack of specifics was troubling. Detailed information on the budget hadn’t even been made available to lawmakers, he said.
“Again and again we’ve wanted the government to give details of revenues and expenditures, such as detailed revenue from casinos, land concessions, forestry, but those figures still have no detail,” he said.