The Interior Minister has selected 31 districts in 24 provinces to have new one-window service offices this year, according to a letter issued on Thursday.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said in the letter that five of the 24 provinces require multiple one-window service offices, including Battambang, Kandal, Kampot, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
“The target districts have to prepare One Window Service Offices in accordance with the announcement of the Ministry of Interior dated on March 12, 2009 on the organisation and operation of One Window Service Offices,” Mr Kheng said in the letter.
The establishment of the offices is meant to promote public service by bringing services closer to the people in a simple, transparent, accountable and efficient way, Mr Kheng added in the letter.
Chea Sros, a resident of Siem Reap, said he used public services offered by one-window service offices. He said that the service provided transparency to people who did not understand administrative procedures.
When he arrived at the office, there was a price table of services available, he said. He added that people now know in advance how much they need to pay depending on the service or the type of document in need.
Mr Sros said that officials at the offices will always issue an invoice for every payment.
Mr Sros applauded the initiative to open more, saying that prior to the enactment of the offices, people had to pay in accordance to what was demanded by officials.
“Corruption has been drastically reduced, though I do not dare to say it can be eradicated 100 percent,” he said. “But I can say there were ten corruption cases in the past, now we only have one or two.”
“There were unlisted costs for processing documents or doing anything that had to do with doing your job in the past,” he said. “I went to acquire new plates for my motorbike recently and we gave them the money; they didn’t demand it.”
Preap Kol, executive Director of Transparency International Cambodia, said the establishment of the one-window offices at the district level is a good mechanism for delivering services from local officials to citizens with transparency and accountability.
“We congratulate the expansion to other areas and we want to see more expansion in all districts across the country,” he said. “These offices reduce corruption because there are price tables, and people can file complaints against officials.”