The Ministry of Planning has proposed a budget allocation of $14.48 billion to fund 608 projects between 2020 and 2022 that would focus on four sectors, including economic, financial, infrastructure and services.
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The ministry on Wednesday released a list of proposed projects during an inter-ministerial meeting, which noted a total of 608 projects to be implemented over the next three years, including 171 projects that are already running and are worth $7.53 billion, as well as 437 new projects related to national strategic development that are worth $6.95 billion.
In breaking down the budget for each year, the ministry said the government would need $4.55 billion in 2020, $5.1 billion in 2021, and $4.82 billion in 2022.
The ministry also broke down the budget allocated for each sector, including $943.9 million for the economic sector, $4.73 billion for the financial sector, while the physical infrastructure sector and services and related sectors need $7.79 billion and $1.01 billion respectively.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor at the Supreme National Economic Council and chairman of the board of trustees at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said the investments are necessary for the progress of the country’s economic growth.
However, he noted that each project needs to be implemented efficiently.
“The government needs to inject investments in the main sectors to drive economic growth…and it has to improve the efficiency in the implementation of each project,” Mr Kalyan said. “For example, investing on infrastructure is important, but we have to ensure that the funds are used efficiently.”
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International in Cambodia, underlined the importance of ensuring the quality of public projects.
“Investment of national budget on infrastructures are very necessary for Cambodia,” Mr Kol said. “A very large portion of money being allocated for that represents the priority of it. But more money comes with corruption risk if there is no proper oversight and control mechanism.”
“Procurement is an area that the government must watch very closely,” he added. “Then ensuring quality of the infrastructure projects are also very crucial, otherwise those infrastructures will be built with poor quality;”
The government projects its gross domestic product growth at 7.1 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2020.
The slowdown is expected as a result from external pressure, led by the possible revocation of the Everything-but-arms deal with the European Union and the US-China trade war.