Pandemic math not adding up in Cambodia

Prime Minister Hun Sen slashes national budget by 50% at a time the nation desperately needs Covid-19 relief spending.

While governments worldwide spend extravagantly to buffer their economies from the Covid-19 pandemic’s ill-impacts, Cambodia is instead tightening its belt.

Last week, Phnom Penh surprised observers by announcing it would slash next year’s state budget by around 50%, notably at a time regional neighbors like Thailand and Singapore are rolling out richly-financed rescue programs.

Specifics of the austerity cuts are still being devised, but it appears provisionally that officials will bring expenditures down to around US$4 billion in 2021, a massive reduction from the $8.2 billion earmarked for 2020.

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