Gov’t Needs $2.4B for Public Investment Projects

The government needs about $2.4 billion to begin 331 public investment projects, such as roads and schools, planned for the next three years, according to a statement released by the Council of Ministers on Friday.

The statement, released after a meeting of the council on Friday, said the $2.401 billion was needed to begin the projects in 2016, 2017 and 2018, while $3.169 billion was already raised and would be used to finish 169 ongoing projects over that period.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Sunday that the money would come from a variety of sources.

“We will get the funds firstly from…money pledged by other countries, as friends and development partners, who offer the money with no interest or with low interest, secondly from tax revenue collected by the government, and lastly from loans to complement our development process,” Mr. Siphan said.

According to the Council of Ministers’ statement, Cambodia typically sets aside $1.8 billion per year for both new and ongoing projects, in line with Friday’s estimate for funds required over the next three years.

The statement added that the public investment plan was prepared based on a number of factors, including demand, inflation and commodity prices.

Economist Srey Chanthy said that because commodity prices often fluctuate more than expected, possible overspending on projects needed to be taken into consideration. He added that most of the money for the projects would likely come in the form of aid and loans from Japan, China, Europe and the Asian Development Bank.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Salin said that in the coming years, his ministry would request millions of dollars to improve schools.

“In the education sector in 2016, for example, we are preparing a request to the Finance Ministry for more than $9 million of the investment budget because we need to purchase more materials, construct…school buildings and more technology,” he said.

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