Total Cost of Asean Summit Not Yet Known

The government is expected to spend well over $5 million for the upcoming Asean summit—a cost that includes the organization of the historic meeting as well as the expenses for delegation heads, officials said.

While officials from the ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs would not provide exact figures or estimates on the total cost of the summit, officials in other sectors gave their own unofficial estimates.

“The summit should cost about $5 million—that’s how much the Asean summit in Brunei was,” one official with the Embassy of Brunei said on Thursday.

While Cambodia is expected to pay the cost of road cleaning and basic upkeep, the government must also pay for the accommodation, transportation, food and other conveniences for the heads of each delegation as “a courtesy.”

“It’s reciprocal—the [Asean host countries] do the same for Cambodian delegations when they go to their country,” one ex­pert on Asean affairs said.

It is this cost that the Ministry of Finance still is not aware of and therefore cannot complete the total bill for the summit, Ministry of Finance Deputy Secretary General Hon Chhun Narun said on Wednesday.

“We have itemized lists of all the expenses, but the Ministry of Finance cannot release it because [delegations] are still withdrawing money,” Hon Chhun Narun said.

The Phnom Penh municipality is spending about 30,000,000 riel (about $7,500) on cleaning roads, said Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara. He said this is the main cost to the city for the summit.

While some leaders, such as opposition leader Sam Rainsy, said in the past that the summit could cost “millions,” one top ministry official said on Wednes­day that the total cost for the summit should only be about    $1 million.

“The main costs are things like hotel rooms, telephone lines, local transportation,” the official said. “But the Ministry of Finance already has 50 cars in its fleet for delegations, so it’s not like they will need to rent more cars.”



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