The government will have to spend nearly a half-million dollars more each month, to pay for newly created Cabinet positions, according to estimates released by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.
Based on government salaries from the previous mandate, the new Cabinet—which has added 89 extra positions, to total 170—will cost the government roughly $536,400 per month, compared to $44,700 per month in the last term, the Comfrel figures state, prompting some analysts to question the expense.
In the government’s second mandate, each deputy prime minister made $1,000 per month, senior ministers earned $750 per month, ministers earned $500, and secretaries of states made about $450, the figures showed.
“It’s not only the salary that is expensive, but a lot of administration costs also,” Comfrel Director Koul Panha said Wednesday.
The government needs fewer decision-makers and more qualified “technical staff” who can carry out public services, he added.
Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, said the decision to expand the Cabinet, made to satisfy a political arrangement between the CPP and Funcinpec, would be regarded poorly by civil servants, who have “desperately asked for raises for years.”
“It’s just like a mockery to the people,” she said.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith disputed Comfrel’s figures Wednesday, saying that as a secretary of state for the Information Ministry in the last mandate, he earned $250 to $270 per month.
The government will be able to pay for the Cabinet through “economic growth” and still raise civil servants’ salaries by 10 percent to 15 percent each year, he said.
“I think this [increase] is not so much. I think it’s how effective is the new government that is the question,” he said.