An opposition spokesman said the party would train commune chiefs across the political spectrum on how to best use the CNRP’s promised $500,000 in funds for each of the country’s 1,646 communes if it came to power in 2018.
CNRP Spokesman Yim Sovann, reacting to criticism over the feasibility of the policy proposal, took to Facebook to say the party would ensure commune chiefs were properly trained on how to use the money and implement development plans that will be laid out by an opposition government.
On the campaign trail, CNRP President Kem Sokha has said he would dismantle the Ministry of Rural Development and cut ministerial budgets by 20 percent to fund the proposal.
“If the PhDs claim that we cannot do it, I, Yim Sovann, guarantee that we will train commune chiefs to have the capacity to manage the half a million dollars they get every year,” he said.
The party’s proposal seems to have struck a chord with voters, prompting Defence Minister Tea Banh to say last week that the promise had “hit the right spot” and had caused a “huge problem” for the ruling party.
Chan Sophal, director at the Center for Policy Studies, said the promise wasn’t very realistic in the immediate future.
“I think there is room for reallocating budget between institutions. However, it requires a comprehensive functional analysis to make the most efficient use of resources,” he said.
He added that upping tax collections to fund the proposal would be difficult because an increase in rates would hurt businesses and individuals.