Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government announces civil servant salary increase

Government announces civil servant salary increase

Government announces civil servant salary increase

081120_14.jpg
081120_14.jpg

Minister of Finance Keat Chhon says the budget for salaries will be increased to boost standards of living

Photo by: Kay Kimsong

Finance Minister Keat Chhon speaks to reporters at a news conference in this file photo.

THE government plans to up spending on civil servant salaries by about US$60 million per year to $360 million starting January 2009, Finance Minister Keat Chhon told the Post Tuesday.

"We will dig up all buried treasure from different ministries and institutions to collect more money to support our action," Keat Chhon said, adding that better revenue collection by the government would free up additional finances to fund the spending.

Keat Chhon said that higher tax revenues will allow the government to increase salary spending by 20 percent every year to improve the standard of living of government workers and other civil servants.

But Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA), said the salary increases still fall short of civil servants' needs.

"I think the increase is good, but the raises should at least match the rate of inflation if they really want to respond to the exact need of our civil servants," Rong Chhun said.

We will dig up all buried treasure from different ministries and institutions to collect more money.

Cambodia's government salaries are about $35 per month, which is barely above the poverty line. Teachers can earn considerably more, but CITA is pushing for monthly salaries of over $100.
International institutions also say the low salaries encourage corruption and poor governance, and have pressed the government to raise pay levels.

More revenues

Government revenues have risen this year with a strong economy in the first half of the year, Keat Chhon said, increasing the likelihood of pay rises.

The Statistics General Headquarters of the National Treasury said that overtime salary spending would double from $12 million per month in 2002 to about $25 million in the third quarter of 2008.

Transparency needed

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay applauded the government's announced salary increase, but warned that officials should focus on reducing corruption in the tax collection system.

"We really support the strengthening of the government capacity in collecting tax in order to enhance the paying of salaries for civil servants. But to get an accurate idea of how much the government is collecting, the government should adopt a minimum income law, to ensure better tax collection," he said.

He also urged the government to tax agricultural exporters to encourage products to be sold locally.

"The government should collect tax from large farmers who export agricultural products if they want to encourage local products to be produced more," Son Chhay said.

Son Chhay added that 35 percent to 40 percent of taxes have been siphoned off by corrupt officials because the government does not have a mechanism to audit expenses.

"I think that to ensure accurate expenses, the government should collect at least 15 percent of the gross domestic product, not only nine percent like now."

In 2007, Cambodia collected more than $600 million in tax revenues.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government set to slash holidays

    The private sector has welcomed the government’s move to reduce the number of public holidays in the in the Kingdom – known for having the most public holidays in the world – by seven days. However, the government had just added the “Day of Remembrance” on

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Kith Theang being held in PJ prison

    Kith Theang, the brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court late on Monday and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare (PJ) prison over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,