Banks, Planning, Sanitation Systems Get $43 Million Boost

The Asian Development Bank has announced more than $43 million in loans and grants to Cambo­dia that aim to modernize the banking sector, improve government budgetary systems, di­versify the economy and improve sanitation.

More than $10.8 million in grants will be supplied to improve the budgetary efficiency of three ministries that support rural development—Rural Development, Agriculture and Water Resources—an ADB news release stated. The funds will improve budget formulation, execution, procurement and auditing, the release stated.

Sok Saravuth, budget director at the Finance Ministry, said that in order to increase funding to the agriculture sector and develop rural areas, as many economists and NGOs have called for, better budget planning is needed.

“Before you can spend money you have to have a good policy and you have to have a good plan five, 10 years from now,” he said.

The ADB release noted the importance of giving assistance to rural areas, where about 4 million people live below the poverty line.

A 24-year, $20 million loan will assist a series of policy reforms to lower the cost of business, expand trade and improve safety, according to a Friday ADB statement.

Among other bureaucratic re-forms it will help businesses register in the provinces rather than in Phnom Penh, said Vanndy Hem, economic and financial sector officer for the ADB.

Another $10.3 million loan will help modernize the banking sector by, among other reforms, improving linkages between banks, which will allow faster transfers of money and check clearances, another release stated.

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