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Kingdom to spend nearly $60 billion on development until 2023

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Workers repair a road in the capital. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia will spend nearly $60 billion under the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023 and 75 percent of the funding will come from development partners.

Speaking to hundreds of government officials, development partners and civil society organisations during the launch of the plan in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said the plan is very important to address development challenges in the Kingdom.

“On behalf of the government, I appeal to relevant ministries…development partners, members of civil society organisations and the private sector to cooperate and actively support us in order for the Ministry of Planning to be able to effectively prepare the national policy,” he said.

Mr Hun Sen noted that relevant ministries and institutions should plan their respective sector development strategies by reviewing ongoing or new projects or programmes funded by local and foreign sources to ensure consistency in line with the NSDP.

He said currently the poverty rate in Cambodia is less than ten percent and the NSDP would contribute to the Kingdom’s economic growth.

“We are sharing the benefits from economic growth with our people at all levels, especially through our policy to increase the salaries of civil savants, members of the armed forces and increase the minimum wage for garment workers,” Mr Hun Sen noted. “We pay attention to workers’ healthcare and supply electricity and clean water to them at low rates.”

Mr Hun Sen said the five-year plan is aimed at transitioning the Kingdom from a lower-middle income country to an upper-middle income country in 2030 and high income country in 2050.

“The Kingdom also needs to pay attention to strengthening peace, political stability, security and public order, protecting people’s rights, having a liberal multi-party democracy…and sustainable development.” Mr Hun Sen said.

In July, the National Assembly and Senate unanimously agreed to pass the NSDP after the draft law on the plan was approved by the Council of Ministers.

According to the Planning Ministry, the private sector will contribute 75 percent of the budget, while 25 percent will come from the government.

Chhay Thorn, Minister of Planning who drafted the NSDP, yesterday said the plan had included input from development partners in order to ensure its effectiveness.

“We have estimated that in the next five years, we will need about $59.9 billion to implement it,” he said. “The NSDP 2019-2023 has an important role to play in implementing the priority policy of the royal government as stated in the Rectangular Strategy-Phase IV and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of 2016-2030.”

Mr Thorn noted that the ministry began drafting the law since early last year after Mr Hun Sen gave his approval.

He said the ministry had held several discussions with relevant ministries and development partners before finalising the draft law.

“The most important purpose of the NSDP is firstly to evaluate the results and challenges of NSDP 2014-2018,” Mr Thorn noted. “Secondly we need to set up policy for all government ministries to implement the priority tasks of the government to ensure sustainable development and stability of economic growth, reduce poverty rate and promote the people’s livelihoods.”

San Chey, executive director at the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday expressed his concern that the lower contribution from the government to the plan could put its implementation at risk.

“I think the government should increase its contribution to the budget to between 35 and 50 percent and let the remainder come from development partners,” he said. “We need to do this in order to offset any shortfall in case a development partner changes its mind.”

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