A report published yesterday by Transparency International Cambodia revealed that the public’s understanding of the national budget is at an all-time low due to a lack of dissemination by relevant government institutions.
Entitled the Public’s Perception Survey on Accountability and Transparency of Budget Processes, the report contained results of a survey that was conducted to better understand the attitudes of Cambodians toward national budgeting, transparency and accountability.
The report said that public understanding of budgetary processes is generally very low. It stated that only 0.3 percent of the sample were able to correctly identify the size of the national budget, while five percent or less were able to identify which institutions are responsible for drafting the annual budget.
Results also showed that 99.7 percent of Cambodian citizens are not able to identify the exact amount of last year’s national budget, while 94.9 percent are not able to identify which national institution is tasked with preparing the budget.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said that the survey sampled 1,596 people from 200 villages across the country. He said that the government should make a greater effort in increasing the civic knowledge of citizens.
“After we surveyed the sample, we noticed that the understanding of how the national budgeting works is very low and so is the access to information. It is worrying,” he said “The government should make greater efforts to inform the public about how the national budgetary system works.”
The survey found that 99.9 percent of respondents have never seen any official budgeting documents prepared by the National Assembly, 98.9 percent never obtained information about the national budget.
However, 84.5 percent of respondents believed that access to the information is important and 97.6 percent of Cambodian citizens believed that the information should be more accessible and made easy for the public to understand.
Survey results also showed that 65.4 percent of respondents agreed that the rich should be taxed more than the poor and that 81 percent of respondents were unaware that it is required by law to pay taxes.
According to the National Assembly, the 2018 national budget is estimated to be 15 percent higher than that of last year at a little over $6 billion.