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National Assembly passes draft law to better manage state assets

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
National Assembly President Heng Samrin leads the 5th session of the legislative meeting. National Assembly

The National Assembly yesterday passed the draft law on state property management to generate more revenue.

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The draft was adopted during the 5th session of the 6th National Assembly legislature, led by the National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

The National Assembly’s Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit chairman Cheam Yeap said at the meeting that: “The draft law will contribute towards managing the use of state-owned properties effectively and sustainably to generate more national income and boost economic growth.”

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has been drafting the law since 2014.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said at the meeting that the
draft law aims at meeting the government’s need to strengthen good governance and boost effectiveness, transparency, efficiency, and accountability in managing state-owned properties to serve the national and public interest.

“The draft law will contribute to ensuring that public resources are managed more effectively, which are the important components of the public financial management reform programme in boosting national economic growth,” he said.

The draft law is designed to strengthen the legal framework, institutional structure and the institutional capacity in managing state assets, Pornmoniroth said.

This includes identifying types of state asset sources, strengthening legal systems, managing property and inventory of state property, transfer of asset tenure, development, use of state property, inspection and audits, incentives and penalties for violations of the law regarding such, Pornmoniroth added.

On July 3, the Council of Ministers adopted the draft law, which contains 12 Chapters and 90 Articles at its meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Pornmoniroth said drafting the law is in line with Article 58 of the Constitution, legal instruments, and practical experience related to the state properties.

Article 58 of the Constitution states that: “State property includes land, underground, mountains, seas, seabed, undersea, under-seabed, beach, air spaces, islands, rivers, creek, lakes, tributaries, forests, natural resources, economic and cultural centres, national defence bases and other buildings that are designated as state-owned and managed by Cambodian law.”

Lawmaker Sam Rithy said at the meeting that the draft law will become a key legal tool to supplement other laws and legal documents, for the government to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the state property management for the nation and public interests.

“I strongly believe that after the law comes into force, the Ministry of Economy and Finance will speed up law enforcement and urge authorities that occupy state properties to speed up the inventory registration,” he said.

“I also strongly believe that authorities that occupy and manage state property, those who rely on state property for livelihoods and all others will apply the law effectively,” Rithy added.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesmen Meas Soksensan and Kim Sopheak could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Executive Director San Chey said that state property at present is often swapped
for different prices resulting in irregularities.

“Passing the law at this time seems to be little late, as most state properties have been exchanged and the public will see that the
swap price between urban
and outskirt assets is not matched,” he said. “The matter is deemed that the old property is sold in order to buy a new one.”

Article 8 of the draft law stipulates that state’s public property is used for the purpose of public interest or public service delivery.

 

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