Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth on Cambodia’s economic future
Five years after Aun Pornmoniroth became Cambodia’s finance minister, he shares his vision for the Kingdom’s economy with Southeast Asia Globe
What have been Cambodia’s greatest economic strides since you became finance minister five years ago?
During the last five years, the Royal Government of Cambodia has made impressive achievements, stemming from prudent macroeconomic management, pro-growth economic policies and comprehensive reforms. Cambodia was named Asia’s new tiger economy and attained lower-middleincome status in 2016 due to strong economic growth. The country has sustained a high economic growth rate and GDP per capita jumped from $1,044 to $1,427 [during my term], reflecting a better living standard. Cambodia’s growth has also moved in an inclusive pathway, which has led to a rapidly growing middle class that represents an attractive market for trade and investment – something which is crucial to safeguarding and reinforcing the growth.
Our revenue collection has also remarkably increased in the past five years to be on par with regional peers, while the government has increased spending on infrastructure, education, skilled labour, health and agriculture with the aim of enhancing public service delivery and economic productivity. We’ve seen rapid economic expansion within a stable macroeconomic environment. Inflation has been contained at around 3%; the exchange rate has been stable; and government’s debt level remains low at around 30.1% of GDP last year, for example.
Prominent reforms, namely the Public Administrative Reform and a sequential Public Financial Management Reform Programme, have been promising. The tax system has been streamlined and modernized, taking advantage of the latest innovations in ICT and making tax paying services relatively more convenient and less time consuming – thus encouraging tax compliance.
Cambodian Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth takes time out from a busy schedule overseeing the Kingdom’s finances