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Gov’t to spend $8.2 billion this year

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National Assembly approved the 2020 National Budget Law on 26 November, 2019. Supplied

Gov’t to spend $8.2 billion this year

The government will spend more than $8 billion and take out $2 billion in foreign loans this year, according to the 2020 National Budget Law, which was made public on Tuesday after being signed off by King Norodom Sihamoni.

The government will spend some $8.196 billion this year, equivalent to 28.01 per cent of total gross domestic product. This is an increase of 22.7 per cent over last year’s budget.

According to the 2020 National Budget Law, government spending has been allocated according to sector, with 37.4 per cent going to social affairs – an increase of 8.9 per cent on last year.

National defence, security and public order make up 25.8 per cent of spending, an increase of 9.3 per cent.

Spending on general administration will be 4.7 per cent higher, while it will increase by 3.3 per cent in the economic sector.

The budget law also outlines that spending on staff this year, including salaries, benefits, bonuses and social allowances for heads of public institutions, permanent framework staff and contractual officials, will be more than $2.103 million – an increase of 8.6 per cent on last year.

Sub-national spending, including on municipal, town, district and commune administrations, will increase to around 10 per cent of the total national budget, equivalent to $820 million.

Sponsorship of the commune development fund will double from around $35,000 on average a year to $70,000.

The salary of civil servants will improve from $270 to $281 from January and will increase to more than $288 from April.

The law allows the government to borrow foreign loans of around 1,400 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

This is an international reserve asset created by the IMF and is equivalent to nearly $2 billion for Cambodia’s development, with total debt of more than $7 billion.

These loans will be used for development in important sectors such as energy, irrigation and infrastructure, as well as other prioritised areas including agriculture, health, the supply of clean water and financing of vocational training and education.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Meas Sok Sensan said his ministry plays a major role in ensuring that revenues and expenditure are managed in an accountable and effective manner.

“The budget is a tool for serving government policy. We have made efforts so it ensures growth for the nation and all of its citizens,” Sok Sensan said.

All government ministries and institutions, he said, played a role in providing effective services and benefits for citizens, while ensuring a good business environment to attract investors and further grow the economy.

The draft of the 2020 National Budget Law was made public on Tuesday, after being approved on November 26 and reviewed by the Senate on December 9.

It was promulgated by the King via a royal decree on December 20.

The ministry said earlier that the 2020 budget will prove effective for the government in meeting challenges inside and outside the Kingdom.

It will also help Cambodia achieve its main targets, especially accelerating development and improving public services.

Pich Pisey, programme director at Transparency International Cambodia, could not be reached for comment.

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