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Per diem allowances for officials adjusted to reflect budget cuts

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Finance minister (sixth from left) led a delegeation to Japan in 2017. The government has revised regulations on allocations for officials at all levels tasked with out-of-office ssignments. FINANCE MINISTRY

Per diem allowances for officials adjusted to reflect budget cuts

The government has revised regulations pertaining to per diem allocations – called ‘mission money’ – for officials at all levels who are tasked with out-of-office assignments.

According to the sub-decree dated January 12 and signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the new procedures will improve the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and accountability of fulfilling missions at home and abroad.

For senior ministers and directors, the sub-decree provides 100,000 to 120,000 riel ($25-30) per diem for general expenses and 200,000 to 240,000 riel for accommodations when travelling. Civil servants and junior officials will be entitled to 40,000 to 60,000 riel per diem.

Allocations for miscellaneous expenditures remain the same as in the old sub-decree, and mission money for international meetings held in the country will be determined and divided according to the status and roles of participants.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Nop Sothonvichet told The Post on January 13 that changes to the policy were in accordance with the roadmap established in the Budget System Reform Strategy 2018-2025.

The ministry removed some spending allowances, discontinuing subsidies for workshops and training as well as spending for emergencies and unspecified special expenses.

Sothonvichet noted that the ministry would re-evaluate the scope and amounts of money allocated for such projects on a case by case basis using international norms as guidelines.

“In order for mission money at home and abroad to continue being spent more smoothly and efficiently, the new sub-decree has updated and revised some important points which were vague and difficult to implement under the 2021 budget,” he said.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the budget revisions were prudent because the Covid-19 crisis had led to the cancellation of many missions in the past year.

He noted that while missions had been reduced, many institutions had transitioned to holding meetings and other functions online, mitigating impacts of the virus and enabling budget savings.

“Whereas spending for travelling and missions has been curtailed amid uncertainties relating to Covid-19, doing so has also contributed to containment measures against the pandemic. In this context, we can find some consolation for the loss of mission activities,” Chey said.

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