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Minister keen to shed fish and forests in decentralisation push

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ouk Rabun on Monday asked Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng to formalise the transfer of forestry and fisheries duties from the ministry to provincial- and city-level departments.

Under the plan, worked out in a November 6 Council of Ministers meeting, local forestry and fisheries departments would inherit many of the duties currently handled by the ministry.

According to Rabun, local forestry and fisheries departments are underworked right now and can accommodate a bigger workload.

“I would like [Sar Kheng] to [place ministry duties] .  . . under the control of each city and provincial department in order to comply with the decentralisation policy,” Rabun wrote in his letter.

Last month, at an annual meeting to discuss ongoing decentralisation reforms, long a stated government aim, ministries were urged to continue efforts to shift responsibilities towards local authorities.

Kheng reminded attendees of reform’s political importance, saying it could impact results in the 2017 commune and 2018 national elections.

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