Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GDP to focus on government efficiency

GDP to focus on government efficiency

GDP board members meet earlier this month to prepare for July’s election. Yesterday they released part of their party platform that includes consolidating ministries. Photo supplied
GDP board members meet earlier this month to prepare for July’s election. Yesterday they released part of their party platform that includes consolidating ministries. Photo supplied

GDP to focus on government efficiency

The Grassroots Democracy Party yesterday suggested taking a pin to Cambodia’s inflated bureaucracy, saying it would campaign on a proposal to reduce the number of ministries from 23 to just 15 in order to improve efficiency and cut wasteful spending.

This year’s parliamentary election will be the small GDP’s first on the national stage, but the dissolution of the country’s largest opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, has boosted its profile – as has the fact that it was co-founded by Kem Ley, the revered political analyst who was assassinated in 2016.

The proposal to slash ministries was made at a policy meeting on Wednesday, and publicised yesterday by GDP Secretary-General Sam Inn, who said the move would also help to decentralise powers, long a government priority, but one in which progress has lagged.

“Some major tasks are related to each other, and when we have many ministries in charge like that, it is difficult to cooperate,” Inn said.

He pointed to the example of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, which both aim to protect natural resources and can grant economic land concessions.

“They are under two different ministries, which makes facilitation, assignments and processes not run well,” Inn said.

The GDP proposed consolidating the ministries of information, tourism, and cult and religion into one. The ministries of environment, agriculture, rural development and water resources would also be combined. The ministries of economy and finance, commerce and industry, would also become one.

“We do not need to separate into four ministries to work. We can see that ministries of agriculture and water resources are strongly connected. Why do we need to separate them into many ministries?” he asked.

Sao Sopheap, spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, said it was GDP’s right to develop policies, but said government structure is based on “effectiveness” and “social interests”.

“The government will consider whether the mechanism or the management structure of the state is effective . . . He is not the government,” Sopheap said.

Political analyst Meas Nee, however, said the bloated central government exists largely to “give the jobs to political party officials rather than to make it more effective”.

He declined to weigh in on GDP’s specific proposals, but said he supported the reduction of ministries in principle.Nee pointed out the ministries often “overlap” and squabble amongst themselves, adding that the ministries of rural development and transportation, for instance, both have authority to develop roads.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling Cambodia People’s Party, said the proliferation of ministries was reflective of the “development of the country”.

“The functions and tasks of the ministry keep increasing, so it needs to separate the different responsibilities . . . If there was no progress then it would not be needed to create those,” he said.

“If the people support them, the people can vote for them. If the people do not agree, people will not vote for them. They will vote for the party that they trust,” he added.

Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,