Prime Minister Hun Sen has issued a directive for the ministries of Public Function and Finance to cooperate with state institutions to ensure that civil servants are paid by the fourth week of every month.
The directive, signed by Mr. Hun Sen and dated January 29, is the latest in a series of civil service reforms since July’s disputed election, including the creation of the Ministry of Public Function to manage the reforms and a plan to pay civil servants through bank accounts in an effort to cut down on kickbacks and inefficiency.
“The Ministry of Economy and Finance must manage the inspection and preparation in providing salaries to ministries, institutions, cities and provinces no later than the fourth week of each month,” the directive says, adding that provincial governors can delegate to their deputies the responsibility of checking monthly payments.
The directive asks local governments to submit payment forms for civil servants by the first week in each month for review by the Ministry of Public Function, which must send finalized forms to the Ministry of Finance by the second week of each month.
“All ministries, institutions, cities and provinces, as well as relevant organizations, must implement [this directive] effectively with high responsibility after receiving these regulations,” the directive says.
Nou Sakhorn, deputy governor of Kandal province, said that the new coordinating mechanism, along with payments through banks, would ensure that “civil servants will get their salaries faster than in previous years.”
Chan Saveth, deputy head of monitoring for local rights group Adhoc, said the new scheme, if effective, would be a welcome change for government employees who have long complained about wages being paid late and inconsistently.
However, Kao Poeun, president of the Cambodian Independent Civil Servant Association, said that the reforms in administration do not address the underlying issue of critically low salaries.
“The government is just undertaking reforms to make things look nice, but this is useless to civil servants because this reform will not improve their living condition,” Mr. Poeun said.
“Civil servants want to see that the government has an action plan for them to live with dignity in society,” he added.