Budget Sent to Finance Committee for Revisions

The National Assembly’s Permanent Committee sent the 1999 budget back to another committee Tuesday for revisions to improve tax collection and transparency of spending, committee members said Tuesday.

Shortly after meeting Tuesday, acting Assembly’s president and Permanent Committee Chair­man Heng Samrin (CPP) said the budget will have to be re­viewed by the parliament’s Bank­ing and Finance Commit­tee.

“We agreed to send the draft budget law over to a second  commission. We want the draft bill to be reviewed more transparently before it is put back into the Assembly for approval,” he said.

Another member of the Perm­anent Committee, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay, said a number of committee members were not satisfied with the draft law be­cause there were not enough safeguards to make sure the money is spent where it is allocated.

Son Chhay also said the government had difficulty collecting sufficient taxes to support the budget itself. He blamed customs and finance officials for corruption during previous tax collection efforts by the government.

While he said he was not op­posed to tax increases in general, Son Chhay demanded greater transparency for tax collection and spending.

Heng Samrin said the budget will probably be set for debate in the Assembly sometime next week. It must be passed by the end of the month.

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