Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen, Sar Kheng tout reforms

Hun Sen, Sar Kheng tout reforms

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Interior minister Sar Kheng at the launch of the National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development 2021-2030. SAR KHENG VIA FACEBOOK

Hun Sen, Sar Kheng tout reforms

The Cambodian government has formally launched a national programme aimed at enhancing the quality and the effectiveness of services provided to the people to ensure that they benefit from inclusive and equitable economic development.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng – also chairman of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) – said at the official launch ceremony on March 21 that the decision to make step-by-step reforms would ensure the effectiveness of public institutions and sustainability of public services provision.

He said it would also give civil servants an opportunity to learn lessons and draw on their experiences of practical implementation as they further refine their methods with each step taken.

He noted that the sub-national administrative management systems across the country have been engaged in decentralisation. The commune administrations have gained more functions and authority under this policy, as have the town and district administrations.

He said the capital and provincial administrations were more decentralised in terms of resources and authority and the system will have to engage in further reforms by promoting greater decentralisation of functions, resources and authority to sub-national administrations so that elected sub-national administrative councils are responsible and accountable to the people who vote within their jurisdiction.

“Up to now, we have finished the implementation of the Sub-National Democratic Development Phase I (2010-2020) and accomplished many major achievements as expected,” he said.

He emphasised that the two major achievements so far in the decentralisation reforms policy implementation were, firstly, the government holding direct and indirect elections – in accord with the principles of a multi-party liberal democracy – to establish sub-national administrative councils on a regularly scheduled basis and according to the mandate set out in the law on council elections.

Secondly, he said, the government had achieved better efficiency and quality of public service provision and local economic development through the gradual transfer of functions and resources in priority areas to sub-national administrations.

Sar Kheng said the 20 ministries and other state institutions in various priority sectors have thus far participated in the process of transferring functions and resources to the sub-national administrations at each stage without complaint.

He noted by way of example that three functions in the education sector – management of primary education, early childhood education and informal education – have now been transferred to 14 town and district administrations in Battambang province.

“Based on the astounding progress achieved to date, it is now obvious that having a clear vision and a strong will on the part of the government to implement decentralisation reforms has led to the best policy decision made [by the government] in the last two decades. We have improved public service provision, local economic development and effective participation in poverty reduction,” Sar Kheng stated.

At the event, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged relevant ministries and institutions to review and revise relevant laws and legal standards to bring them in line with the policies for development under the decentralisation reform programme.

“We have to continue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of managing reform work and continue to clearly define roles, authority and responsibilities for the provision of public services that were transferred from ministries and national institutions to the sub-national administrations,” he said.

Hun Sen requested that permanent mechanisms be established to ensure the effectiveness of government leadership, coordination and monitoring of the sub-national administrations to make certain they continue to adhere to the Kingdom’s laws and legal standards.

“The division of functions and the transfer of more roles to the grassroots level over the past two years has been a successful endeavour and it assisted in the fight against Covid-19. If every decision required input from the national level before the grassroots level had the authority required to take action, we could not have handled Covid-19 as successfully as we have today,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement