National Assembly Approves $15 Billion Development Plan

The National Assembly yesterday approved a $15 billion national development plan, which aims at boosting gross domestic product by 6 percent a year between 2010 and 2013.

Eighty-six of the 89 lawmakers present at the Assembly voted to approve the National Strategic De­velopment Plan of 2009 to 2013, which aims at strengthening the economy, and revises targets set out in the previous five-year plan, which expires this year.

Tuon Thavarak, director general of the Planning Ministry, told re­porters during a break in the session that donors would have to pay for a large sum of the total amount of public spending set out within the plan.

“The government would plan to spend about $6 billion to implement the main priorities within the five-year plan. On average we need about $1.2 billion per year,” he said. “Our own money in the national budget amounts to $200 million…. In short we need about $1 billion more [annually].”

The remaining $9 billion will be generated from the private sector, Mr Thavarak said.

In a May 5 letter to the National Assembly, Prime Minister Hun Sen said he expected $10.8 billion, or more than two thirds of the projected $15 billion cost, to come from foreign donors and investors.

“It is expected that GDP will grow from 0.1 percent in 2009 to about 6 percent from 2010 to 2013,” the prime minister said in the letter.

Speaking at the National Assem­bly, Planning Minister Chhay Than said the government would devise an investment program to ensure the five-year plan was implemented accordingly.

“The Ministry of Finance and Economy will find capital to support and guarantee the implementation process,” he said.

The National Strategic Develop­ment Plan lays out goals in poverty reduction, school enrollment, natural resource exploitation and infrastructure needs, among other aspects.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition SRP, said the government should look closely at the recommendations from civil society and the international community so the plan is implemented effectively.

“If the [implementation] is like it is today, I don’t believe that this plan will be a success,” he said.


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