Cambodia has inked a $30 million agreement with a private South Korean firm to install information technology infrastructure at government offices in 10 provinces in a bid to improve the efficiency of local authorities, officials said.
The project, which includes Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Pursat and Battambang, will be carried out by Kisan Telecom Co Ltd, and will be paid for with a $30 million soft loan from South Korea that was announced in November, officials said at a July 18 signing ceremony at the Council of Ministers.
The loan will be used to install fiber optic cable to the provinces, officials said. Hundreds of computer printers, scanners and servers will also be installed at provincial offices, and local officials will be trained in the use of computers.
Cabinet Minister Sok An said Cambodia had already spent a previous $20 million loan from South Korea for computer databases at government ministries to keep logs of civil servants and their salaries, vehicles in Phnom Penh and real estate.
When it comes to IT, Cambodia remains behind other developing countries, Sok An said. “We should try our best to [improve] IT development,” he added.
Ung Chhun Hour, director of the transport department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said by telephone Monday that his ministry is using a computer database paid for with the South Korean loan to keep records of all the vehicles on Phnom Penh’s roads. “We use a computer system to list all the number plates, models [and] years of production,” he said, adding that the ministry will soon install a computer system to check that people have paid taxes on their vehicles.
Phu Leewood, secretary-general of the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority, said the $30 million loan would be paid back over 30 years. There will be no interest charged for the first 10 years, but 0.5 percent annual interest for the next 20 years, he said.