Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More cash for the bosses, others to wai

More cash for the bosses, others to wai

More cash for the bosses, others to wai

G OVERNMENT officials from the Prime Ministers to under-secretaries of state are

pocketing more cash from new allowances, but other state employees may have to

wait at least three years to see their wages raised.

A sub-decree signed

by co-Prime Ministers Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen on July 26 approved a

monthly allowance of:

  • $1,470 for a prime minister;
  • $1,120 for a deputy prime minister;
  • $1,000 for a minister of state;
  • $840 for a minister;
  • $700 for a secretary of state;
  • $560 for an under-secretary of state.

Officials who hold more than one positions can claim only one

allowance.

The monthly official wage for Cambodia's Prime Ministers is

known to be about $70, while ministers get $40.

Members of the National

Assembly have always been considerably better paid - to the ire of some

ministers and other government officials - and earn about $1,800 in salary and

allowances.

Prak Sok, Secretary of State for the Public Service

Secretariat, said the allowance increase for executive government members was in

line with the revised 1995 national budget.

It was to cover expenses such

as holding receptions for foreign guests to discuss "big business", their field

missions and the rental of their houses.

"Unlike rank-and-file employees,

they [senior officials] have a great responsibility and must enjoy appropriate

living and working conditions. The allowance is to encourage them to be more

responsible in their jobs," Sok said.

He said lower-ranking government

workers would have their wages increased when the economy improved, revenues

increased, staff numbers were reduced and qualified people recruited into the

civil service. He believed that might be in about three years time.

Some

government employees spoken to by the Post were unhappy at that.

"This is

the government of prime ministers and ministers," said a staff member at the

state-owned Agence Khmere Presse, who made about $20 a month.

A Ministry

of Information worker, who earned about $15 a month, complained: "They [top

officials] have cars, villas, everything and now they've got more money. How

about us? You see if I ever vote for this kind of government again."

But

a senior official at the Ministry of Information said the government was, quite

rightly, more concerned with trying to develop a competent and efficient public

service.

He said the government was pursuing a strategy of encouraging

less-qualified staff frustrated at their low salaries to quit their

jobs.

Salaries would not be raised for existing employees, but

better-qualified staff would be recruited, if they passed an entry examination,

and paid more.

The official, who would not be named, said the

government's new plan followed its February head-counting exercise - a census of

state employees aimed at weeding out "ghost" workers and those with more than

one job - which was unsuccessful.

He believed the government was on line

to develop a more "efficient and dynamic" administration, especially after the

1998 election.

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