Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Wednesday that the establishment of Phnom Penh and provincial one-window service offices will not reduce the power of provincial departments.

He also shared his plans of constructing a “unified provincial administration” in which provincial governors, councillors and department directors work in one building to boost the decision-making process.

His remarks were made during the inauguration ceremony of the capital and provincial one-window service units and Ombudsman offices in Pursat province on Wednesday.

Sar Kheng said: “The establishment of the units is not meant to lessen the power of the provincial departments.

“Representatives of provincial departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Commerce; Industry and Handicraft; Environment; Water Resources and Meteorology and so on are placed in the same office.

“I had placed some of the provincial department directors in the same building as provincial governors because we want to develop a unified administration.

“This way, if the provincial governor wants to meet with the provincial department directors of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Environment officials, they can easily gather and talk.”

The “unified administrations”, said Sar Kheng, have been established in Tbong Khmum, Siem Reap and Prey Veng provinces. He noted the importance of the move as the provincial administrations represent Prime Minister Hun Sen and all ministers.

On another note, he said the launch of the one-window service units will strengthen the responsibility and accountability of the capital and provincial administrations in delivering services efficiently and transparently.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng reviews photos after inaugurating a one-window service office. Facebook

Public accessibility to the services would also be ensured, said Sar Kheng.

Prak Sam Oeun, the director-general of the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Administration, said the provincial one-window service units provided 559 types of services across 15 sectors.

By the end of last year, 115 of the 203 municipalities and districts have established their one – window service units and Ombudsman offices.

The remaining 88 have implemented a one-stop office for the provision of 211 types of services across 14 sectors.

“From the second semestre of 2018 to the end of last year, the provincial one-window service units in the Kingdom had provided a total of 694,967 services and generated $14 million in income,” said Sam Oeun.

Advocacy and Policy Institute director Lam Socheat told The Post on Wednesday that unified administrations would pave the way for easier and quicker access to services.

“But we are concerned that subordinate officials who are comfortable with working individually would face difficulties in performing fully because of the sudden change in environment,” said Socheat.

He said though the launch of one-stop service units is a good move, some people may still be unaware of the importance of these offices, and may not know which services they provide.

The government, he said, needs to promote the offices further to inform the public, as well as receive feedback for improvement of their performance.