Prime Minister Hun Sen has officially endorsed a decentralisation proposal aimed at restructuring the management of cities and their districts as part of a bid to expand public services and enhancing the roles of local administrations.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng sent the proposal to Mr Hun Sen, asking for the approval of seven points to reform local administration structures.
Mr Hun Sen approved the proposal by signing his name on the document on January 19.
“It is to ensure the efficiency and responsibility of city and district administrations,” Mr Kheng said in the proposal. “It is to ensure that public services can be accessed by the people who need it the most and to facilitate development.”
The points include the removal of expert bureaus within ministries and integrating them into local administrations, creating new management structures and establishing local units to tackle economic and social affairs.
However, bureaus in charge of priority issues such as security, health, education and urban management will retain their local-level structuring.
Ratanak Mondul district governor In Saorith said he supports the government’s initiative in restructuring local level management.
“We see that this is a good idea. The government wants to restructure the management of cities and districts,” Mr Saorith said. “When those expert bureaus are restructured, we will see better access to public services.”
“For example, the one-window service has encouraged more people to seek public services – it is no longer necessary to meet officials face-to-face,” he said. “People just need to submit their documents in one place and they will get service.”
On Friday, Mr Hun Sen said in order to reduce burden of local businesses, he decided to remove district-level bureaus, due to overlapping jurisdictions with cities.
“Soon we will remove some district-level bureaus,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We will keep those bureaus that are associated to the security, health, education and urban management. The rest will be removed or combined into a single bureau.”
Soeung Saroeun, executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, said a restructuring of this scale will need robust commitment, implementation and monitoring. He noted that the government must collaborate with NGOs and citizens in order to receive input on the impacts of restructuring.
“Officials need to have enough financial resources and be independent so public servants can serve citizens with quality services,” Mr Saroeun said.