Gov’t To Seek $536 Million From Donors

The government is planning to request $536 million from international donors at the Consul­tative Group meeting in Paris in May, officials said Mon­day.

The request is part of the government’s $1.4 billion development plan over the next three years, Planning Ministry Sec­retary of State Lay Prahas said. Donors pledged $470 million at the last CG meeting in February 1999.

Officials said Monday that the public investment program for 2000-02, focuses on investment that would accelerate economic growth in rural areas to reduce poverty.

“This is a formal national investment program that contains projects submitted by each ministry,” said Lay Prahas. “We have a social development oriented policy.”

According to the program prepared by the Planning Ministry with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank, high priorities are given to health, the national and rural transportation network, education, agriculture and water supply.

The health sector takes up nearly one-fourth of the $1.4 billion three-year plan. Trans­portation development projects would require $215 million and projects in agriculture, water resources and education sectors need more than $164 million each.

Some of the high-priority projects for which the government is seeking funds are rebuilding several national roads, an agricultural training center, rural electricity, primary schools and the construction or rehabilitation of 27 reservoirs, according to the plan.

Last year, donors rejected the government’s request for a three-year, $1.35-billion package, instead pledging the $470 million. It is unclear how much money from last year’s pledge has been disbursed so far.

Jean-Michel Severino, vice president of the World Bank, earlier this month visited Cambodia as part of the preparation for the World Bank-hosted CG meeting in Paris. He had talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen and other top officials on the country’s development plans and government’s efforts on promised reforms.

Donors and government officials have been meeting every three or four months to monitor the government’s progress in fiscal, forestry, military and civil service reform.


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