Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to limit the number of new civil servants hired across the government in a bid to keep expenditure down.
“We must try our best to use existing officials,” he said.
“I have told the Minister of Economy and Finance to pay attention to the number of officials that other institutions have asked for and limit new hires. If they ask for 100 new workers, maybe only 10 or 20 will do.”
Mr Hun Sen said the hiring cutback was due to the excessive amount of money being spent on civil servant salaries. “Our current expenditure on staff accounts for more than 50 percent of regular expenditure,” he said.
“Through macroeconomic principles, we should only spend 40 percent of the regular expenditure, equivalent to four percent of GDP.
“But right now we spend more than 50 percent, equivalent to six percent of the GDP.”
A Ministry of Civil Service report said there were just over 200,000 civil servants across the country in 2016, including 38,543 national civil servants and 162,475 at sub-national levels.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said recruitment of new civil servants should not be based on budgets only, but on the needs of government projects.
“They should declare to local people to apply when the state needs officers or staff working in certain areas,” he said.
“Each ministry, rather than merely replacing retired senior officials, should recruit officers according to priority job requirements.”