THE National League of Commune/Sangkat Councils (NLC/S) opened a two-day forum in Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces on Tuesday to gather input from commune councillors on the challenges of decentralisation.
“We created the forum to reinforce good governance in the commune councils and push the government to give more power to the commune councillors as part of the decentralisation effort,” said Pok Sokundara, secretary general of the NLC/S.
Commune councillors were first elected in 2002, the initial step in the government’s ongoing effort to delegate greater administrative responsibility to local authorities. Common concerns voiced by forum participants, however, included the difficulties managing finance and development plans, and the lack of communication between commune officials and higher-level government authorities.
“We don’t have the power to make development plans for our communes because high-ranking government officials never ask us what our people need,” said Touch Satheang, chief of Boeng Touk commune in Kampot province.