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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Salary reform effort set to target advisers

Salary reform effort set to target advisers

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has issued a directive stating that high-ranking officials who also work as government advisers should not receive two salaries.

The directive, dated October 27 and obtained by the Post Sunday, cites the global economic crisis as the main reason for the reform.

“Due to the present economic situation facing the country and the difficulty of the global economic crisis, the government is required to take measures to save the budget,” it states.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Sunday that the directive specifically targeted officials who are double-dipping from the government’s coffers.

“It means that one official receives only one salary,” he said.

The directive applies only to officials from the undersecretary of state level and up. Phay Siphan said the government would begin strictly implementing the directive in 2010.

Data on advisers scarce
Pich Bunthin, a secretary of state at the State Secretariat of Public Affairs, said Sunday that undersecretaries of state receive salaries of about 1.5 million riels (US$359) per month, whereas secretaries of state receive about 1.7 million riels per month.

Neither Pich Bunthin nor Phay Siphan could say how many advisers the government employed or the average salary those advisers received.

Pich Bunthin said many top officials employ advisers independently rather than through a government body, which is why the number is difficult to track.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said he believed government advisers received average monthly salaries of 2 million riels. He said the reform effort was likely “an attempt to correct the mistakes of unnecessary spending over the years”.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said he believed there should be a limit to the number of advisers government officials are allowed to employ.

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