The Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy could be dismantled in the coming National Assembly session and a new ministry of “handicrafts” created, a ruling party lawmaker has said.
Cheam Yeap, a senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker, said yesterday that the government would seek approval from parliament to split the ministry into a Ministry of Mines and Energy and a Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts.
“As the [scale] of natural industries and handicrafts [grows], the focus on industries changes, so the National Assembly has to approve [the changes] in accordance with the government’s request,” Yeap said.
He added that it was not immediately clear which post the current Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Cham Prasidh, would assume if the planned changes went ahead, a decision that would ultimately be made by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The move is unlikely to meet opposition in the next National Assembly session, which starts tomorrow. Ruling CPP lawmakers took their seats in parliament a few weeks ago, but the 55 elected Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers are maintaining a boycott of proceedings.
Yeap claimed that the splitting up of the huge Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy would enable officials to focus their efforts and get more work done, but the opposition said it would only help entrench the power of the CPP and create more bureaucracy.
“[Strong industries] are important for the national interest, therefore we have to ensure the government is working effectively,” Yeap said.
Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the CNRP, said yesterday that creating the new ministries would do little to benefit industry, while going a long way towards increasing government red tape.
“It is useless. This is just extending bureaucracy, corruption, wasting the national budget and [increasing] partisan power-sharing,” he said.
Also on the table at the upcoming National Assembly session will be the 2014 draft budget law, which allocated more than $6 million to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.