Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Global Fund backs reform

Global Fund backs reform

Global Fund backs reform

THE Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a prominent international health donor, says it is committed to working with the government on civil-service reform after a local health official said Monday that Global Fund associates in Cambodia were considering defying government pronouncements on pay schemes for civil servants.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Geneva-based organisation said it “fully supports” the government’s ongoing effort to restructure the compensation of government workers as part of what officials say is a broader push for public administration reform.

“All Global Fund-supported programmes in the country continue to adhere to government guidelines as this process unfolds,” the organisation said.

The guidelines to which the statement referred were first announced in December, when Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon said that effective on January 1, the government was cancelling salary supplement programmes for civil servants. Under such programmes, donors had been topping up salaries of government workers across a range of sectors in the hope of helping to retain skilled workers and promote a culture of meritocracy.

Keat Chhon said in January that the government planned to unveil a new compensation system by July of this year.

In a letter written earlier this month to his organisation’s country coordinating committee in Cambodia, Global Fund country programme director
William Patton said that three months into the government’s reform effort, fears that it would drive away civil servants have been realised.

“We understand that reform takes time; however, we also recognise that the incentive payments scheme terminated by the [government] last year was a significant motivator to staff providing care and treatment to HIV, TB and malaria patients,” Patton wrote. “The Global Fund is concerned that after three months of cessation of incentive payments, negative impacts on service delivery are being observed.”

Tia Phalla, vice chairman of the National Aids Authority, said earlier this week that on Friday, the Global Fund’s country coordinating committee – an advisory body to the fund’s management in Geneva – would consider whether to wait on compensation reforms or recommend reinstating salary supplements at pre-2010 levels, despite the government’s orders.

On Tuesday, however, the Global Fund’s Elmar Vinh-Thomas, regional team leader for East Asia and the Pacific, expressed support for the current schedule of reform. He said his organisation hoped to see the government’s plans implemented “smoothly and within the agreed timeline”.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Monday that under the new system, pre-determined salaries would replace incentive schemes.

“Each programme adds operating costs with [compensation], so no longer with a supplement to the salary,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said