Two Ministries Anticipate Budget Increase

The ministers of education and health said Monday they expect an 18 and 15 percent increase to their ministries’ budgets, respectively, in the draft 2015 national budget signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday.

Mr. Hun Sen approved the draft budget on Friday, requesting $4 billion in government spending next year, according to a statement released by the Council of Ministers the same day.

The proposed budget marks a 10.8 percent increase over 2014’s $3.56 billion budget and represents 21.09 percent of gross domestic product, the statement says.

According to the statement, the budget will allow for an increase in salaries to civil servants and the armed forces, while there will also be more money allocated to education, vocational training, health, agriculture and infrastructure.

The statement doesn’t offer a breakdown of how the budget will be allocated.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said Monday the Ministry of Economy and Finance told him his ministry’s budget would receive an increase of about 18 percent.

“I think it’s a substantial step for education,” Mr. Naron said, adding that the ministry would use the extra money to increase teachers’ salaries and improve the infrastructure of schools.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said, based on his request to the Ministry of Finance, he expects a 15 percent budget hike compared to last year.

“The budget will be used to prevent communicable diseases, improve health care systems, and increase staff salaries,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Monday that the draft budget would be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification this week.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said no one from the opposition party has seen the budget yet.

“No one can confirm [what it says] until the draft budget passes [through] the National Assembly,” he said.

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