The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the World Bank launched a two-day workshop yesterday focused on the progress of Cambodia’s Public Financial Management Reform Program (PFMRP), an initiative that aims to improve the governance and transparency of the national budget.
The workshop was organised to review Cambodia’s experience since implementing a programme in 2004 aiming to increase efficiency of the public financial sector reforms and to benchmark performance against other countries.
Addressing the opening session, Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth said the World Bank programme was in its third stage and was focusing on implementing budget-policy linkages that could transform the current centralised public financial management system into a decentralised one.
“This is a very important benchmarking exercise for Cambodia to draw lessons learnt from this reform work,” he said. “I strongly believe the workshop will produce fruitful outcomes, with new experiences, knowledge, inputs and recommendations for problem-solving from all stakeholders.”
He added that with the help of remarkable growth in tax collection, 90 percent of Cambodia’s various ministries had implemented budgeting reform techniques in line with PFMRP, with the aim to achieve 100 percent by the end of 2018.
Ellen Goldstein, World Bank country director for Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, said that by 2025 the programme seeks to create a national budget system which will be based primarily on policy-budget linkages and performance accountability.
She added that the efforts thus far have improved the legal framework for public investment management, allowing the World Bank to scale up support for government-financed “pro-growth and pro-poor public investments”.
“The importance of public financial management delivery is like the importance of water to farmers,” she said. “Nevertheless, modernising budget systems alone will not likely be sufficient to ensure good performance . . . It is therefore important to pay more attention to human resources management and institutional building of the private sector.”