The government has allocated more than 3.5 trillion riel (nearly $900 million) for sub-national level administrations throughout the Kingdom to develop their localities for next year. The figure is an increase of $276 million compared to this year.
The allocation was announced during the National Workshop on the Formulation of 2020 Annual Work Plan and Budget of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) in Phnom Penh on Thursday.
Presided over by Minister of Civil Service Pich Bunthin, the workshop was attended by around 500 officials from relevant institutions and representatives of civil society and development partners.
“The drafting of 2020’s annual work plan and budget is based on the nearly $900 million budget, around 95 per cent of which is contributed by the state and the rest by development partners,” Bunthin said.
He said the state’s greater contribution to the budget for sub-national level administrations aimed to help municipal, district and commune authorities successfully implement the government’s policies, rectangular strategy and other reforms.
He said successful reform of key programmes including decentralisation, deconcentration, public financial management, public administration, the legal and judicial system, and other sectors required strong collaboration, consistency and rapid progress.
Sin Putheary, the acting executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) who represented civil society at the workshop, hailed the NCDD’s significant progress in sub-national democratic reform.
He said the NCDD’s efforts were a step towards fulfilling the needs of people in a transparent, responsible and sustainable manner.
“But to implement the budget and action plans for 2020 more effectively, I suggest [the government] ensures autonomy for officials at the sub-national level regardless of political affiliation.
“Also, a fair and thorough evaluation system for their performance and adequate pay rises and promotion based on their merits is required,” she said.
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, also applauded the move.
He said sub-national administrations had made great efforts to build a good rapport with the people and engage them in development in their localities. The aim, he said, is to ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency and sustainability.
“We want to see the establishment of a mechanism that promotes people’s participation in development. Currently, local authorities and the people are not yet working hand-in-hand, and both need to be brought closer together,” he said.
Minister of Interior and NCDD head Sar Kheng told media recently that each commune, sangkat and council administration will receive a budget of $120,000 to address the people’s needs. He said the budget will see a steady increase and will eventually reach $193,000 for each by 2023.