Fi­nance, World Bank lead re­form work­shop

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS - Cheng Sokhorng

THE Min­istry of Econ­omy and Fi­nance and the World Bank launched a two-day work­shop yes­ter­day fo­cused on the progress of Cam­bo­dia’s Pub­lic Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Re­form Pro­gram (PFMRP), an ini­tia­tive that aims to im­prove the gov­er­nance and trans­parency of the na­tional bud­get.

The work­shop was or­gan­ised to re­view Cam­bo­dia’s ex­pe­ri­ence since im­ple­ment­ing a pro­gramme in 2004 aim­ing to in­crease efficiency of the pub­lic fi­nan­cial sec­tor re­forms and to b e nc h mark p e r f o r mance against other coun­tries.

Ad­dress­ing the open­ing ses­sion, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Aun Porn­moniroth said the World Bank pro­gramme was in its third stage and was fo­cus­ing on im­ple­ment­ing bud­get-pol­icy link­ages that could trans­form the cur­rent cen­tralised pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment sys­tem into a de­cen­tralised one.

“This is a very im­por­tant bench­mark­ing ex­er­cise for Cam­bo­dia to draw lessons learnt from this re­form work,” he said. “I strongly be­lieve the work­shop will pro­duce fruit­ful out­comes, with new ex­pe­ri­ences, knowl­edge, in­puts and rec­om­men­da­tions for prob­lem-solv­ing from all stake­hold­ers.”

He added that with the help of re­mark­able growth in tax col­lec­tion, 90 per­cent of Cam­bo­dia’s var­i­ous min­istries had im­ple­mented bud­get­ing re­form tech­niques in line with PFMRP, with the aim to achieve 100 per­cent by the end of 2018.

Ellen Gold­stein, World Bank coun­try di­rec­tor for Cam­bo­dia, Myan­mar and Laos, said that by 2025 the pro­gramme seeks to cre­ate a na­tional bud­get sys­tem which will be based pri­mar­ily on pol­icy-bud­get link­ages and per­for­mance ac­count­abil­ity.

She added that the ef­forts thus far have im­proved the legal frame­work for pub­lic in­vest­ment man­age­ment, al­low­ing the World Bank to scale up sup­port for gov­ern­ment-fi­nanced “pro-growth and pro-poor pub­lic in­vest­ments”.

“The im­por­tance of pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment de­liv­ery is like the im­por­tance of wa­ter to farm­ers,” she said. “Nev­er­the­less, mod­ernising bud­get sys­tems alone will not likely be suff i c i ent t o en­sure good per­for­mance . . . It is there­fore im­por­tant to pay more at­ten­tion to hu­man re­sources man­age­ment and in­sti­tu­tional build­ing of the pri­vate sec­tor.”

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