Loans to Keep Pace With Reform, ADB Says

Requests for extra loans have to be matched by demonstrable reform efforts, leaders of the Asian Development Bank told Prime Mi­ni­ster Hun Sen and Cabinet Chief Sok An at a meeting late Mon­day.

“The [aid] pie is not getting any larger,” ADB Country Director Urooj Malik said Tuesday. “At best it’s staying the same or even shrinking, and I’m not just talking about the ADB, but overall.”

How much assistance Cambo­dia gets, “really depends on how Cambodia’s performance…compares to other countries,” said Malik, who is overseeing a visit by the ADB board of directors to Phnom Penh this week.

Describing Monday’s meeting as encouraging, Malik said board members praised the draft land law pending before the National Assembly, calling it a model of broadly consultative lawmaking.

Board members also praised the government’s commitment to civil service reform, citing a proposed pilot project to be sponsored by the ADB that would offer training and money incentives to recruit highly qualified people to key government posts. But “it’s important that those blueprints be turned into action plans and be implemented,” Malik said.

Adviser to the prime minister Eang Sophalleth, who also attended Monday’s meeting, said the prime minister reiterated his commitment to reform while urging the bank to give Cambodia more money to carry it out.

“The prime minister expressed regret that assistance from foreign donors was rather slow,” and said he may be compelled “to seek help from China,” Eang Sophal­leth quoted the premier as saying.




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