Donors Meet Over New Civil Servant Per Diems

Cambodia’s international donors met Tuesday to decide whether they will comply with the government’s recent move to increase the per diem that civil servants receive for attending work-related, out-of-office events.

In July, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed off on a sub-decree raising the Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) government employees are entitled to when on work-related trips.

Those making an overnight trip in-country will be entitled to between $34 and $85 depending on their rank. Before, in-country trips earned them between $20 and $25. According to the sub-decree, civil servants can receive up to $670 for a trip abroad.

More than 30 representatives from donor agencies met in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to come up with a unified position on the new rates, according to Eric Sidgwick, country director for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He declined to say what the donors decided on, however, preferring to get the government’s feedback before making their position public.

“The ADB will comply to the rate as much as possible, because the previous allowance rate was too low,” he said.

On Monday, Mr. Sidgwick said the previous rates made it hard for donors to get civil servants to show up for training sessions and other events.

“Training and events [have] been constrained by the low daily subsistence allowance,” he said. “ADB and other development partners welcome the upward revision, but given the variation in the DSA rates, ADB and other development partners are in discussion with the government with a view to aligning to an adjusted single DSA rate.”

Finance Ministry secretary-general Hel Chamroeun said the donors were not strictly required to stick to the new rates but recommended that they do so that civil servants get the same per diem whether attending government or donor events.

“In order to avoid a double standard…it is recommended [donors] apply the same standard if possible,” he said.

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