The Finance Ministry last week announced the establishment of 25 new comment boxes to collect public remarks on taxes, the management of state property and the behavior of the ministry’s own staff.
In statements published in Khmer-language newspapers, the ministry’s internal audit department said the purpose of the boxes, which are located on the exterior of every provincial department of finance, is to offer the public a voice in the ministry’s operations. There are also two comment boxes in Phnom Penh, one is located at the Finance Ministry and the other one is located at the internal audit department in Daun Penh district.
“These audit boxes are for receiving complaints, criticism, constructive ideas and other news related to the public administration [of the Finance Ministry],” according to the notice. The Ministry “encourages the attachment of evidence” to complaints, the statement adds.
Secretary-General for the Finance Ministry Hang Chun Naron said last week that the system was changed from formal letters of complaint addressed to the ministry to the new anonymous comment boxes in order to encourage more feedback.
“We are not allowed to read” the comments, Mr Naron said, adding that only the internal audit department is allowed to see the contents of the messages placed in the boxes.
An official in the internal audit department, who declined to be identified because of fear of professional repercussions, said the boxes are already receiving comments although not all of them are related to the topics specified by the ministry.
“We have gotten some complaints but some of them are not valuable,” the official said yesterday without elaborating.
“We think that the [boxes] will encourage more ideas to develop our public financial management,” he said.
Ut Chhorn, the government’s auditor general, said on Monday that the box project belonged wholly to the Finance Ministry.