Overspent ’06 Budget Gets Late Review

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.”



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