King Norodom Sihamoni has issued a Royal Kram promulgating the 2024 Law on Financial Management after the National Assembly (NA) approved it on November 16 and the Senate reviewed it on November 24.

Under the budget, the state is expected to collect 29.896 trillion riel ($7.278 billion) from national revenue sources in 2024, including tax and non-tax revenue and other income.

State expenditures have been set at 34.497 trillion riel ($8.39 billion) for next year, down from the 39.206 trillion riel ($9.54 billion) estimate for 2023. 

The government was also granted permission to borrow 1.7 billion SDR (2.258 billion) in concessional loans, which need to be repaid as preferential loans.

Comprising five chapters and 14 articles, the law was first passed by the Council of Ministers in a plenary session on October 27. 

The main purpose of the law is to support the implementation of the government’s political programme and the first phase of its Pentagonal Strategy, especially the implementation of key policy priorities and practical reform measures.

Hong Vanak, an economist at the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said he has not yet read the law, but believes it is intended to establish legal standards for the state’s budget utilisation and public expenditures, as well as the management of government revenue sources.

Vanak added that the budget also seeks to scrutinise the spending of public institutions on various projects. It emphasises the importance of allocating funds only to necessary expenses that are a priority for social services and human resource, infrastructure and technology development, in line with the Pentagonal Strategy.

“The law’s designation is merely a consecutive update from 2022 and includes the total expenditure alongside a feasibility study and the government’s revenue estimate, which will be available in 2024,” he explained.

According to the summary document from the Ministry of Economy and Finance regarding the law, the budget framework aims to safeguard all development accomplishments achieved in the previous government mandates. 

This includes the absolute protection of the country’s peace and sovereignty as a fully independent state and the effort to shape one’s own destiny, spanning the past, present and future.

The document indicated that the 2024 budgetary law can be seen as an effective tool for the government to address domestic and international challenges and risks. It is designed to advance the “Budget Strengthening Position” with a particular focus on people, institutional capacity, public administration overhaul and structural reform within core governance.

“Strategic budgets are aimed at preserving hard-earned accomplishments and pioneering new initiatives to advance the primary objectives of the government’s political programme and the Pentagonal Strategy-Phase I. These objectives are centered on upholding peace, stability and sustaining Cambodia’s consistent journey towards quality and sustainable development in line with the vision of Cambodia 2050,” the summary said of the Kingdom’s goal of becoming a high-income nation by 2050.