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Senators approve $8.23 billion national budget for next year

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Senators vote on the 2020 budget yesterday prior to also passing Trade Union Law amendments. Senate

The Senate yesterday unanimously adopted a budget of $8.23 billion for next year’s national budget.

All 58 of the 62 senators who attended the plenary session yesterday voted in favour of the draft law.

The law was unanimously passed last month by the National Assembly after the Council of Ministers approved in October.

The government plans to spend $8.23 billion in 2020, a 22.7 percent increase compared with this year’s budget of $6.7 billion.

According to the draft law, $4.8 billion will be earmarked for current expenditures and $3.3 billion will go to capital expenditures, which includes public investment and debt repayment, and $2.1 billion will be disbursed for paying the salaries of government officials.

The social affairs sector will receive $1.94 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent, while the economic sector will receive $1.81 billion, up by 10.7 percent.

Additionally, about $1.18 billion will go to defence, security, and public order next year, an increase of 8.3 percent from 2019, according to the draft law.

Oum Sarith, Senate secretary-general, yesterday said the law was passed to enable governance reform and sustainable development.

“The 2020 national budget is the financial strategy to overcome challenges and risks inside and outside the Kingdom through strengthening in-depth reform to ensure peace, stability and sustainable economic growth,” Mr Sarith said.

He noted that the draft law aimed to promote healthcare during the Kingdom’s transition to an upper-middle income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.

Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang yesterday said that the budget will reduce poverty.

The Senate also passed amendments to the Trade Union Law yesterday to promote workers’ rights and ensure union freedom.

The Trade Union Law became effective in 2016, but unions decried some articles, saying they restricted union freedom. The draft amendment was approved by the National Assembly in October.

Both draft laws will now be forwarded to the Constitutional Council of Cambodia for review before being sent to King Norodom Sihamoni for a final approval.

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