Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng has suggested that many national level ministries are yet to fully implement the much-heralded decentralisation and “deconcentration” reforms outlined by the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD).
The Interior Minister urged them to begin doing so immediately in the new year.
Sar Kheng, who is also the chairman of the body, was speaking on the second day of a two-day NCDD national workshop held at the Ministry of Interior over Wednesday and Thursday.
He said decentralisation and deconcentration reforms are a long-term political commitment of the government and a central platform to be implemented by all ministries and institutions at both national and sub-national levels.
The decentralisation and deconcentration reform process, he said, was a long and complex process. He noted that some national level departments were slower to begin the undertaking than others.
“All provincial-municipal administrations have started implementing decentralisation and deconcentration reform mechanisms gradually. But at the national level, only some ministries have so far arranged and altered leadership mechanisms."
“With respect to this problem, I would like to ask the ministries that have not began implementing the mechanisms to begin implementing the reforms from early next year,” he said.
Sar Kheng continued that ministries and sub-national administrations have ensured the reforms are included into their action and budget plans for next year, saying: “We cannot delay the process anymore. ”
Decentralisation and deconcentration is a public finance management reform initiative that began in 2016 and is due for completion in 2020.
It is intended to increase accountability and development at a local level by allowing local authorities greater control over funds, thereby improving their ability to respond to the needs of their constituents.
Sar Kheng said he would like to see continued cooperation between those leading the reforms and the ministries to see the changes implemented efficiently.
“I would like to request to the secretariat of the three reform programmes – decentralisation and deconcentration, public administration and public financial management – to continue cooperating, facilitating and discussing with ministries, institutions and involved sub-national administrations in preparing structural reform for the first quarter of 2019. We aim to ensure that towns and districts can fulfil their work completely in the new structures and systems from 2020,” he said.
Speaking at the workshop on Wednesday, Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) executive director Soeung Saroeun said the CCC – a coalition of 170 national and international non-governmental organisations – welcomed the NCDD’s leadership in the country’s reforms towards decentralisation.
“We commend the NCDD for their commitment and determination in the [reform] mandate implementation which has had remarkable results this year."
“We ask the NCDD and 10 relevant ministries to continue to accelerate the delegation of important functions and services to local administrations,” he said.