Finance Ministry Sets Forth Rough Plans for 2016 Budget

The Ministry of Finance unveiled its strategic plan for next year’s budget during a forum Tuesday at the ministry in Phnom Penh, placing a focus on increasing state revenue, ramping up industrial productivity and spreading the benefits of economic expansion.

Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth said the government would seek to continue expanding its tax base, aiming to increase state revenue by 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for each of the next three years. Last year, state revenue was equal to 16.35 percent of GDP.

“The Ministry of Economics and Finance will continue to make efforts to collect more short- and medium-term revenue through implementing strict measures that are set in medium-term revenue collection policies from 2014 to 2018,” Mr. Porn Moniroth said.

The finance minister did not elaborate on what measures would be taken, but over the past year the government has increased efforts to collect customs taxes and begun enforcement of long-standing laws taxing companies who hire foreign workers.

Vongsey Visoth, a secretary of state at the Finance Ministry, said the 2016 budget, which directs almost 40 percent of state funds to social affairs, would bring about greater economic equality.

“The national budget is an important development tool mainly to distribute the nation’s gross domestic product in order to ensure economic growth and…to ensure social equality,” Mr. Visoth said.

From the planned $4.34 billion 2016 national budget, the ministry plans to allocate 38.65 percent to social affairs, 24.76 percent to defense and security, 13.44 percent to general administration and 10.76 percent toward industrial expansion, according to Hav Ratanak, director of the department of budget formulation.

Phan Phalla, director-general of the general department of economic and public finance policy, said the budget would help the government reach its goal of a $20.37 billion GDP in 2016.

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