The National Assembly Permanent Committee is conducting a review of the 2006 national budget expenditure draft law before submitting it for approval to the Assembly, a year later than scheduled.
“The delay to approve the budget expenditure is because of the political deadlock [in 2004],” CPP lawmaker and finance chairman Cheam Yeap said Thursday.
The anticipated budget for 2006, approved in late 2005, was $926 million. According to the budget expenditure draft law, the government generated $1.1 billion in 2006 but only spent about $1 billion.
Cheam Yeap said the discrepancy between the anticipated budget and the actual budget was not a problem.
“The national budget is an anticipation of revenue and expenditure, so there must be some changes,” he said, adding that the National Auditor Authority has found some mistakes in the expenditures and has already given recommendations to the Ministry of Finance.
According to the draft law, the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy had a budget of $2 million, but spent $7 million. The Council of Ministers overspent its $15 million budget by about $11 million, and the Ministry of Finance overspent its $9 million budget by $8 million.
Reached by telephone, Ministry of Industry Secretary of State Ith Praing said that his ministry overspent in 2006 because it needed to devote more money to infrastructure and development projects.
Other ministries spent less than projected.
The Ministry of Health spent 99.9 percent of its budget of $63 million. The Ministry of Cults and Religion spent 95 percent of its budget, the Ministry of Commerce only 80 percent, the Ministry of Agriculture 98 percent, the Ministry of Rural Development 90 percent and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation 93 percent.
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said priority ministries such as the ministries of health and education always spend less than projected, while other ministries such as the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Industry always overspend.
“The government must not allow the ministries to overspend,” she said by phone. “There were no emergency situations.”