Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday issued a sub-decree on steps to reduce government spending for domestic and foreign missions for national and sub-national administrations due to COVID-19.
It set the rules and procedures for implementation of the expense budget for civil servant missions to the provinces and abroad to enhance efficacy, transparency and accountability.
Leaders, public servants and contracted officials of ministry institutions of national and sub-national administrative units will have to continue the same number of missions even though remuneration and allowances will be reduced.
Minister of Civil Service Prum Sokha told Khmer Times yesterday: “In the past, if the officers had to go on a mission to the particular places twice a month, but then their allowance was reduced, they would instead only go on a mission once. Now they still have to do it twice a month.”
“I further encourage civil servants to visit the base three times a month even though the economy is struggling. We should work harder to join the fight against COVID-19 with the people and the government,” said Sokha.
He added that the government has a very clear policy on missions abroad: travel should only be if necessary. If it is not necessary to attend a mission in person abroad, officials can work or meet online.
“Without COVID-19, the government would increase the salaries of the civil servants, or if they could not be increased, the government would not reduce the salaries. This is an incentive for civil servants,” he said.
Executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability San Chey said yesterday that there will still be a COVID-19 crisis this year, which will make it impossible for all levels of officials, both in the country and abroad, to travel for work.
He said although Cambodia has lifted the stringent COVID-19 measures following the November 3 and 28 “incidents”, foreign countries, especially in Europe, are not yet open for travel.
“Thus, the provision for reducing mission and travel expenses of civil servants does not affect them much. The officials do not go to meetings or workshops directly, but have to attend virtually online,” Chey said.
This sub-decree on domestic and foreign missions for national and sub-national administrations is applicable to members of the government, ministers and delegates to the Prime Minister, secretaries of State and undersecretaries of state, as well as members of the capital, provincial, city, district and commune councils. It also includes public officials at all levels, assistant advisors, contract officers officially recognised by the Ministry of Public Function and financial assistants of commune administrations.