Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on government officials to do more to implement Cambodia’s next five-year development plan than they did to implement the current plan, which ends this year.
“The royal government has long been dedicated to the development of five-year plans,” Hun Sen said, adding that plans were not enough.
“Even though we have had economic growth, poverty has not been reduced as quickly as we have wanted,” he said at the opening of a government workshop on the drafting of Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan (2006 to 2010) on Monday.
Noting that the growth rate of the rural economy has not kept pace with increases in rural population, Hun Sen said that curbing population growth should be part of the next plan, along with achieving 6 percent to 7 percent growth rates for the economy.
Hun Sen also called for the eradication of corruption “in order to equally distribute the benefits of the economy to everyone.”
The International Monetary Fund has warned that Cambodia’s growth rate could fall this year to
2 percent in part because of the end of quotas in the garment industry.
Economic Institute of Cambodia data indicate that during the past decade most of the wealth generated in the country went to urban dwellers while rural gross domestic product declined.
In 2002, GDP per capita in Phnom Penh was $1,000 per year. In rural areas it was $180 per year.
Hun Sen also said that the next 5-year plan will be based on UN Millennium Development Goals. These across-the-board measures include halving the nation’s poverty by 2015.
Currently, 36 percent of Cambodians are listed by the government as living below the national poverty line. Cambodia’s poverty line varies depending on whether a person is living in a rural or urban area, but is set at those existing on between $0.43 and $0.63.
The national poverty line differs from the UN definition, which defines poverty as anyone living on less than $2 a day and extreme
poverty as anyone living on less than $1 a day.
Minister of Planning Chhay Than said Monday that the new 5-year plan will focus on rural areas where 90 percent of poor Cambodians live.