Council of Ministers Approves $2.8-Billion Spending Plan

Council of Ministers on Friday approved a three-year plan to spend $2.8 billion on public infrastructure projects from 2010 through 2012.  

According to a Friday statement from the council, the Ministry of Planning anticipates that $2.8 billion will be required for 536 projects across the country. The new three-year plan is part of the broader na­tional development planning strategy 2006 to 2010, which was approved by the National Assembly in May 2006.

According to the statement, 233 of the proposed 536 projects are al­ready under way, and 303 of the in­frastructure projects are considered to be priority developments.

Minister of Planning Chhay Than said that the planned budget expenditures are aimed at generally im­prove Cambodia’s infrastructure, with a focus on irrigation systems to boost agricultural production.

The list of planned projects also includes the construction of major roadways, hospitals and schools, Mr Than said by telephone.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that $2.8 billion on­ly represents an expenditure fore­cast and the actual amount spent over the next three years may change. He added that, as of now, all of the projects will be paid for by the government and there are no donor pledges regarding the projects at present.

The minister of planning, however, said that budgetary constraints make it unlikely that the government can foot the entire bill for the projects, and therefore the state will need to seek partners in the private sector to bring the plans to fruition.

“As I have told the cabinet, since we don’t have enough money, then we need participation from the private sector,” Mr Than said.

The entire state budget approved for 2009 totals approximately $1.9 bill­ion, meaning that each year the pro­posed infrastructure projects would consume the equivalent of about half of the current national budget.

SRP lawmaker and party spokes­man Yim Sovann welcomed the bud­get proposal, which he deemed as necessary for development, but ex­pressed concerns over corruption.

“All projects must have a bidding process. So far there are projects that didn’t have bidding pro­cess,” Mr Sovann said. “The government must use the budget to be effective.”


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