Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sar Kheng urges efficient use of new $100K local budget

Sar Kheng urges efficient use of new $100K local budget

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng told a meeting attended by some 300 Phnom Penh and provincial commune council chiefs in the capital on Wednesday. Heng Chivoan

Sar Kheng urges efficient use of new $100K local budget

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has ordered commune officials to use next year’s increased annual budget of more than $100,000 “effectively, transparently and responsibly”, with local-level expenditure set to more than double from $50,000 a year.

The increase will remain in place for three years until it rises to nearly $200,000 in 2023, he said.

Sar Kheng, who is also deputy prime minister, told a meeting attended by some 300 Phnom Penh and provincial commune council chiefs in the capital on Wednesday that their good governance had resulted in the budget increases.

He congratulated the commune and district administrations on behalf of the Ministry of Interior and the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) for giving the government confidence in their leadership.

“The commune leadership has provided services and local development to respond to the pressing needs of their constituents and address their problems. This is why the government has decided to increase the budget for commune administrations.

“Each commune will receive more than $100,000 a year for development and overall administrative expenditure from the start of next year. In 2023, the budget will increase to nearly $200,000,” Sar Kheng said in his closing remarks.

He urged commune officials to continue retaining the confidence of both the people and the government.

“Commune officials must focus on managing and using the budget more accountably, effectively, transparently and responsibly in line with set principles and procedures.

“If spending is ineffective and has no transparency or accountability, it will make the government, ministries, institutions and citizens lose faith in commune officials.

“They have said that the government did not give them enough money – but now we have given them a lot more. So we must now endeavour together to see that the money is used most effectively. This means it must be used transparently and with accountability,” Sar Kheng said.

He also urged officials at the relevant ministries and institutions in the capital and provinces to remain professional as moves to give greater power to local government continued.

“The national level is still responsible to the government and the National Assembly. With greater responsibility given to local administrations, officials can’t think they are free of responsibility.

“Thinking like this is not correct. It means they only want to embrace power to spend money. It is a wrong viewpoint that we can’t accept because we must share results,” Sar Kheng stressed.

The Minister of Interior then took the opportunity to again warn high-ranking officials who were yet to express their support for the transferring of power.

“The process of decentralisation is to improve the democratisation process by giving the sub-national level greater authority and responsibility economically and socially, as well as politically. Some [high-ranking officials] are against such moves because they want to keep power and resources,” he said.

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) senior official Ou Chanrath said he welcomed the government’s increase to the commune budget, saying the move would support local-level development.

“This is a good step because it will improve efficiency and cut down expenses. With the budget going directly to the local level, it will also strengthen commune development,” Chanrath said.

Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) executive director Soeung Saroeun also said the sub-national administration budget increase would develop and further support local government.

Local authorities should hold discussions with their constituents and relevant civil society organisations to ensure the budget is used effectively and transparently, he said.

“We applaud the increased budget and the progress made in transferring greater responsibility to the commune level. However, we want transparent and accountable use of the budget, with the people and civil society organisations participating to decide how it is used,” Saroeun said.


  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement