The National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) opened its two-day workshop on Wednesday, with attendees hailing its role in facilitating ongoing reforms in the way finances are administered and responsibilities carried out in Cambodia.
Speaking at the workshop, NCDD Action and Budget Plan for 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth said he appreciates the department’s efforts and contribution in achieving the targets set out in the national government’s fifth mandate.
He especially emphasised the department’s role this year in implementing important reforms in the areas of decentralisation, public finance management and public administration.
“These three reforms will continue to serve as the key pillars for ensuring the success of the political programme and the rectangular strategy-phase implementation of the government’s sixth mandate,” Pornmoniroth said.
Decentralisation is a public finance management reform initiative that began in 2016 and is due to end in 2020. It is intended to increase democratic accountability and development at a local level by allowing local authorities greater control over funds, thereby improving their ability to respond to the needs of constituents.
Speaking of decentralisation efforts, the deputy prime minister said: “We have clearly determined the establishment of some mechanisms, including town and district funds, sub-national democratic development funds, the transfer of resources with conditions, and the arrangement of a direct income source for town and district administrations.”
He said he reviewed administrative spending in order to increase the allocation of the state budget into district funds, thus providing them with more resources to fulfil their mandate to the local electorate.
“We have altered and permitted the towns, districts and commune administrations to obtain additional funds from the allocation of tax collection,” he said.
Pornmoniroth said he plans to review the mechanism to ensure that the allocation of tax income between administrations at a sub-national level has been implemented equally in accordance with each their workload, role and responsibility.
He also raised issues requiring resolution to achieve the decentralisation policy.
“We will review resource allocation to increase the size of financial resources for communes from 2020, so they are capable of responding properly to the local demands and priorities. In 2019, we will review and strengthen the inspection and audit systems on financial management of sub-national administrations,” he said.
Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) executive director Soeung Saroeun said at the workshop that the CCC – a coalition of 170 national and international non-governmental organisations – welcomed the NCDD’s leadership in the country’s reforms towards decentralisation.
“We commend the NCDD for their commitment and determination in the [reform] mandate implementation which has had remarkable results this year."
“We ask the NCDD and 10 relevant ministries to continue to accelerate the delegation of important functions and services to local administrations,” he said.
Sampov Poun commune chief Uk Srorn said that the policy has seen the budget granted to his commune increase.
“The granting of the budget is good for developing the village and commune. In the past, there was no such grant to local authorities,” he said.