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Government Considering Increase in Allowances

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen kisses First Lady Bun Rany during the 105th International Women’s Day event at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. KT/ Vireak Mai

Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that the government is considering raising family allowances for the wives and children of public servants across the Kingdom.  
Speaking at a ceremony celebrating the 105th Anniversary of International Women’s Day at the Peace Palace yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen said he had instructed the Finance and Civil Service ministers to explore the possibility of raising the allowance for wives and children of the country’s public servants, including those in the armed forces. The current rate is $1.50 for wives and $1.25 for each child.
Mr. Hun Sen was responding in part to a Facebook user named Se Suyden, who commented on his Facebook page on Monday requesting the allowance for family members.
“In order to give a great gift for all ladies and for the improvement of gender, I would like to ask Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen] to please raise the salary for public servants’ wives. As I remember, they get about $1.50 to $2.50 per month,” Mr. Suyden wrote.
He added that the government should consider delegating a portion of the national budget to achieve this measure.
“This action would be applauded by our public servants and their wives as well,” he said.
Mr. Hun Sen pointed out that this year, the government has already increased the salaries of public servants with a further increase coming in April. He also said it may be challenging to raise the allowance additionally this year.
However, the premier affirmed that the allowance will be increased in 2017.
“Even though we could not raise salaries for the wives and children of public servants and armed forces [this year], we could have some allotments for Pchum Ben Day (Ancestors’ Day) as a gift for the wives and children of our public servants and armed forces,” he said. “If they do not get the raise this year, we could resolve this in 2017.”
Civil Service Ministry spokesman Yuk Bunna said there are about 190,000 civil servants across the country, not including the armed forces.
He added that his ministry keeps a record of the number of wives and children of the civil servants, but could not give specific figures.
Mr. Bunna said he could not estimate how much of a raise the government would decide to give dependents and said it would be contingent on the total number of family members of all public servants including the armed forces along with the state of the national budget.  
“This allowance is small, but the government allows all officials to use their family member to cut their salary tax,” he added, explaining that the government requires all officials who have a monthly salary greater than $200 to pay a salary tax.
It is calculated in light of the number of family members each public servant claims and can be lowered or even suspended if the number of dependents is high enough.
CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith said he supported the prime minister’s measure.
“It is a positive point that allows our public servants and their family members to have a decent salary to improve their living standards,” he said, adding that it will be difficult to increase allowances for family members because the government’s revenue is still limited.

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