Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Wednesday that the delegation of authority from national level to sub-national administrations remained slow, resulting in a lack of clarity concerning their roles and responsibilities in providing public services.
Speaking at the 17th meeting of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) at the Ministry of Interior, Sar Kheng said the delegation of authority had lagged despite the NCDD secretariat coordinating the process and providing financial and technical support for relevant institutions.
He said the process had not yielded the significant results that were expected.
“So far, only a few specific functions have been delegated to sub-national administrations. Because of this, sub-national administrations still don’t have clear roles, authority and responsibility in providing necessary public services to people in the localities.
This is not in line with the principle of decentralisation and deconcentralisation of the government,” he said.
Concerning the increase in the budget for communes, Sar Kheng said more effort must be expended to strengthen technical support and capacity-building for commune administrations to ensure they can manage and use their budgets effectively and correspond to the developmental needs in each locality.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the slow pace of delegating authority is due to the conflict of
interest among national-level officials who are unwilling to lose their roles.
“We want to see a speedy delegation of authority to sub-national administrations so that the policies of decentralisation and deconcentralisation can be implemented, especially policies on good governance.
“They don’t want to transfer [authority] because they want to hold on to their power and resources,” he said.
Concerning the recent increase in commune funds, the government issued a sub-decree on August 21 to transfer more resources from the state to commune administrations for local development from 2020 onwards.
Each commune administration will receive about $70,000 next year – a twofold increase from this year’s budget.
The budget will subsequently be increased every year until 2023 when each commune administration will receive an estimated $193,000, with around $132,000 allocated for local area development.