Minister of Interior Sar Kheng is planning to expand the One Window Service Office (OWSO) to all districts nationwide as it has assisted in reducing corruption and facilitated the provision of public services to the people.

Sar Kheng made the plan known as he led a delegation with German ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger on a visit to the OWSO in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district, where they also inspected the Police Academy of Cambodia’s Institute of Police Professional Training on November 29.

He told reporters after the inspection that people faced difficulties, including corruption, when seeking services from authorities when there was no OWSO. Therefore, he would implement the government’s policy to improve people’s lives, at least through the OWSO.

“In fact, the OWSO supports the policy to make life easier for people. They don’t have to travel back and forth and spend one to three months without any information and sometimes they can’t get the service or face inactivity or corruption, which is a problem,” he said.

If the officials working at the OWSO did not serve the people, the citizens could have the right to lodge a complaint with the office of the ombudsman, he said.

According to the minister, the capital and some provinces such as Kandal, Kampong Cham and Battambang already have OWSO, though only about 20 per cent of the Kingdom’s 24 provinces have it.

Ambassador Berger said setting up OWSO is a good way to provide services to the locals.

“Another good point is that when there is OWSO and people have any complaint, they can file it immediately,” he said.

San Sai, a Phnom Penh resident, welcomed the plan. “I used to get my certificates of confirmation at the OWSO in Russey Keo district. It was easy and officials were friendly and the price was set. There are different price lists and duration, depending on what services we are using.”

A OWSO representative in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district who asked not to be named said the OWSO covers more than 10 sectors, equivalent to 311 services, including legalisation, civil registration, land transfer, trade, industry, mine and energy and construction.

He said that in one year, the office generated more than 50 million riel in income ($12,500), which go to the state coffers and distributed as needed.

Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said that despite the increase in public services everywhere, people still faced problems.

“There are still problems with bureaucracy, complexity of administrative procedures, irregularities, corruption, and obstruction or delay in the provision of services,” he said.