Alliance Blasts Government Budget Spending Figures

The Alliance of Democrats alleged in a statement released Friday that the government violated the Constitution in its 2003 spending.

Provisional budget implementation figures for 2003 from the Min­istry of Finance show that the In­terior and Finance ministries far out­spent the amounts allocated to them in the 2003 budget law, while social ministries spent much less than they were allocated.

“Any new budget revision not ap­proved by the National Assem­bly is a serious violation of the Constitution,” the statement said.

“According to some officials in­volved in spending, they spent less because the National Treasury is short of cash,” the statement said. “But according [to budget figures], most of Funcin­pec ministries and priority ministries are spending less money, but the CPP is spending more money.”

It also implied the Finance Min­istry and the National Treas­ury exercised more power over the allo­cation of funds than the Na­tional Assembly, which, according to the Constitution, is charged with approving the national budget.

Sok An, Minister of Cabinet, de­clined to comment Friday. Kong Vibol, secretary of state at the Min­istry of Finance, also declined to comment.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith on Friday blamed the allocation system for the government’s erratic spending, saying the procedure for ministries to get money allocated to them is rife with red tape and excessive paperwork.

Thursday, Funcinpec spokes­man Kassie Neou said the 2003 budget expenditures reflected “a lack of political will and fair play from the ruling party.”

He alleged that the CPP withheld money from Funcinpec-controlled ministries so that those ministries would not run efficiently.

Minister of Information Lu Lay­s­reng, whose ministry spent about 83 percent of its allocated amount last year, also blamed the CPP on Thursday.

“They use everything and we can get nothing,” he said.

Of the Funcinpec-controlled “priority” ministries, 2003 figures show the Ministry of Education spent 79 percent of its allocated amount, the Ministry of Health spent about 59 percent and the Ministry of Rural Development spent about 54 percent.

The CPP-controlled Ministry of Social Affairs, which is the fourth so-called “priority” ministry, spent 96 percent of its allocated amount.

A joint study by the Asian De­velopment Bank and the World Bank released in October said the National Poverty Re­duction Stra­tegy and the 2003 budget law were not linked.

“Increasingly, budget execution has suffered from delays and an unpredictable release of funds due to cash constraints,” the re­port said.

“The system is plagued by gate-keeping and deficient accounting and reporting systems, thus leading to a weak control environment and increasing opportunities for corruption,” the report added.


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