Cambodia's Budgetary Central Government (BCG) collected nearly $6.2 billion in domestic revenue in 2023, equating to over 96% of the 2023 annual budget law (BL), while total expenditures reached nearly $7.4 billion, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

This included 21.219 trillion riel ($5.21 billion) in tax revenue, representing 84.17% of the total; grants of 1.456 trillion riel ($358.45 million), or 5.78%; and other income of 2.535 trillion riel ($622.35 million), equating to 10.06%. 

Overall revenue performance decreased by 4.69% year-on-year, with tax revenue down by 4.43%, grants by 24.08% and other revenue up by 7.69%.

The central government’s spending reached 30.076 trillion riel (about $7.38 billion) in 2023, or 91.45% of the BL. 

This includes expenses totalling 21.259 trillion riel ($5.22 billion), 70.68% of the budget, and net acquisition of non-financial assets of 8.817 trillion riel ($2.16 billion), or 29.32%. 

Compared to 2022, outlays increased by 11.18%, with expenses up by 10.04% and net acquisition of non-financial assets by 14.02%.

“In 2023, slow revenue performance, combined with rapid expenditure execution, led to a deficit. However, [it was] modest, equating to 73.24% of the planned … deficit. The budget deficit over these 12 months is reflected in an increased debt of 5.259 trillion riel [$1.29 billion] and a decrease in the net acquisition of non-financial assets by 394 billion riel [$96.69 million],” as stated by the BCG.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on February 13 that the slight decrease in income collection was due to the impact of global economic uncertainties on the country. 

He said the adverse effects of the global economy have slowed some exports to international markets, reducing government revenue from cross-border tariffs. 

He noted that BCG’s spending may have increased through investments in infrastructure, roads, schools, human resource training and continued support for vulnerable people.

“Even though [income] has decreased and expenditures have increased compared to the annual BL, it has not caused the government to run out of funds or stall any investment project. This means the government has sufficient capacity to manage annual revenues and expenditures,” he said.

“For 2024, I believe that the BCG’s revenue and expenditures will improve compared to 2023. We have observed that international trade activity has recently begun to demonstrate increasing prominence,” he added.

On January 31, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected the Kingdom’s economic growth at 6.1% for 2024, buoyed by a recovery in tourism and manufacturing, with inflation expected at 3%.