The government has appropriated 10.254 trillion riel (over $2.5 billion) for the salaries of civil servants and members of the armed forces in 2024.

Government spokesman Pen Bona explained that despite the current crises facing the global economy, the government places a high priority on ensuring that civil servants are provided for. The state plans to increase the basic salary of officials and members of the armed forces by five per cent.

The draft Law on Financial Management 2024 was ratified during an October 27 Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Following the meeting, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that the government plans 38.829 trillion riel ($9.376 billion), with 34.497 trillion riel ($8.33 billion), or roughly 24.13% of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP), marked for national-level expenditures. This represents a decrease of 5.8% on the 2023 budget.

The budget earmarked for civil servants and members of the armed forces covers three expenses – recruitment of new officials, salary increases for existing ones and an increase in operational allowances.

The ministry noted that around five per cent will be added to base salaries for civil servants and members of the armed forces.

The state will add 22,500 riel ($5.50) per month to civil servants who have a salary of 1,130,000 riel ($275) or less, and 20,000 riel ($5) to those who earn more than this amount.

It added that 25,000 riel ($6.25) will be added to the monthly pay of National Police and military personnel who earn 960,000 riel ($235) or less, and 20,000 riel ($5) to those who earn more.

Contracted police support officers will see their salaries increase from 710,000 riel ($170) to 770,000 riel ($180).

Bona noted that the government has always paid close attention to providing for civil servants and members of the armed forces, whether under the leadership of former Prime Minister Hun Sen or incumbent Hun Manet.

“During the present situation, all civil servants, such as members of the armed forces and teachers, have decent living conditions. The number of applicants for these positions continues to increase, with both young and old people clamouring to take the civil servant entrance exams. The number is far greater than it was before,” he said.

He said it is obvious that many people want to work for the government because of the efforts it makes to ensure they have decent livelihoods.

Hong Vanak, an economist from the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, opined that while a five per cent increase – or $5 to $7.50 – may not seem high on an individual level, it is important to realise how high the overall expenditure will be, given the total number of officials who serve the public across the Kingdom.

He said the fact that the increases are being delivered during an economic crisis and global inflation shows the depth of the government’s concern for its officials.

He also believes the increases will stimulate the national economy because many officials are likely to spend the additional money on their daily expenses, spurring additional economic activity.

“The attention the new government has paid to securing these pay rises is good. The government is no different from the old one, and will foster economic growth. As people grow older, they will spend more. Wholesale and retail sales will increase and investment volume will grow,” he added.