The amount of money to be allocated to commune-, district- and province-level governments is slated to rise next year in accordance with the government’s long-gestating attempts at decentralising its power.
At a workshop yesterday on local democratic development, Keo Bengvath, deputy director of the Local Financial Department at the Ministry of Finance, outlined funding for the sub-national levels of government.
Provincial- and capital-level funding will rise to about 640.8 billion riel, with 237.2 billion riel and 69 billion riel going to the commune- and district-levels, respectively – for a grand total of about $233 million.
The increase of funds in 2014 from 2013 on the commune, district and provincial levels are 13.48 per cent, 13.86 per cent and 21.63 per cent, respectively, Bengvath said.
Ngann Chamroeun, deputy executive director of the secretariat of the Ministry of Interior’s National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development, said that the figures would continue to grow in the future, “but it depends on the national income”.
The new money will be used for development, reform and “to boost capacity”, he continued, without naming specific projects or sectors.
Cambodia’s new Ministry of Public Function, he added, will try to give more power to local administrations.
“It is an act of transferring the power to the lower levels,” Chamroeun said.
Decentralisation has been a slow process. A 2013 study by researchers at Michigan University and the US-based Brookings Institute ranked Cambodia 121st out of 182 countries in terms of decentralisation of government power.
San Chey, director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, said that even with increases, the funding for lower levels of government is still too limited.