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Government urged to speed up reforms

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
National Assembly president Heng Samrin delivers a speech yesterday. National Assembly

National Assembly president Heng Samrin yesterday told government officials to expedite internal administrative reforms aimed at promoting sustainable economic growth in the Kingdom.

In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government is to carry out reforms in order to bring about an independent economic system with no room for foreign pressure.

“The government recently began its first step to reform in terms of trade facilitation and fiscal incentives, including reducing input costs and customs procedures,” he said, noting that reforms will also aim to eliminate corruption, promote competitiveness, and enhance and promote investment, among others.

Mr Samrin echoed Mr Hun Sen’s message yesterday during a workshop on Building Macroeconomic Policy Framework and Public Finance for Drafting the Law on National Budget 2020.

He said government officials must continue to carry out their policies to maintain economic growth and continue to improve human resources in the public service sector.

Mr Samrin said reforms aiming both to centralise and decentralise aspects of the government should be better in order to promote quality and effective public services to grassroots citizens.

“The Royal Government has to continue its efforts to implement priority policies on developing human resources and promoting the sectors of agriculture and industry, especially the issue of centralisation and decentralisation,” he said. “It is so Cambodia has a clean administrative system capable of addressing social and economic issues.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said he welcomes Mr Samrin’s message in urging government officials to develop a clean administrative system for public services.

“The message is right, but what is mostly lacking are accountability and political checks and balances,” Mr Kol said, noting that checks and balances disappeared with the dissolution of the former opposition CNRP.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the government should provide a way for citizens and members of civil society organisations to monitor development projects initiated by the government.

“There’s a lot of hiding of public administrative information in the past, leaving people to know little about the procedures on how to request for public services,” Mr Chey said.

Mr Chey added that the government has built roads and infrastructure, but citizens and civil society organisations know minimal information and that some people do not even know about the implementation of government projects.

“In order to have a clean administrative system, the government should publicly reveal information about as many [projects], such as an auction [tender] to supply medicine,” he said.

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