Cambodia attaches utmost priority in pursuing greater efficiency in budget allocation and execution, improving tax administration and policy, and promoting fiscal revenue diversification to strengthen the economy and ensure financial sustainability.

“Over the past two years, we have implemented fiscal policy, particularly fiscal reforms in view of Covid-19, ensured budget efficiency, improved tax administration and tax policy rationalisation,” said Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.

He was speaking at a high-level conference on “Sustainable Finance: Mobilising Financial Resources for Economic Recovery in the Post-Covid-19 Era”, held in conjunction with the 8th ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting on April 7.

The conference is seen as a major event in the run-up to the second ASEAN Global Dialogue, which will take place during the ASEAN summit later this year.

He said ASEAN must devise realistic and extensively thought-out solutions which address challenges in the fiscal sphere and explore new green finance initiatives to revitalise the regional economy.

This, he stressed, should be done in an inclusive and sustainable manner by focusing on closer cooperation between member states and individual international finance institutions.

He shared that in Cambodia, prominence has been given to leveraging sustainable green technologies and practices to enhance the resilience of socio-economic development.

The meeting was attended by ASEAN finance ministers and representatives from regional central banks, national and international financial institutions, development partners, research institutions and private businesses.

Meanwhile, Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath told The Post that budget strengthening and fiscal policy rationalisation should have been done “a long time ago”, as the “state budget had leaked in the past while expenditure on the state budget had been wasted”.

Therefore, this restriction should be implemented as soon as possible to keep the state revenue for financing in the event of various crises.

“Previously, there were cases of tax fraud and collusion between tax officials and taxpayers, especially tax officials in districts who embezzled tax revenue from small- and medium-sized enterprises because the latter did not have knowledge about this tax,” Sereyvath alleged.

In order to avoid tax revenue losses, the tax authority should ensure comprehensive dissemination of tax information and procedures on tax declaration to taxpayers in order to collect revenue as per the tax law.

He said government policies and strategies are “very good”, but require effective and consistent implementation by government officials to uphold the intention of the government.