Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Next Year’s Budget Discussed in NA

Tuesday, 01 December 2009 04:49 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian National Assembly on Monday began debating the 2010 budget of just over US$2 billion. The new budget focuses on boosting economic growth during the global economic crisis, and more social affairs and defence spending.

The 2010 national budget increased about 11 percent over 2009 with the government to spend on public investment projects to improve living conditions and foster economic growth, Cheap Yeam, chairman of the NA Committee for Economy, Finance, Banking and Auditing, told the NA floor.

National defence and the Interior Ministry will receive US$274 million next year, up from US$223 million, he said. “We increased the budget for national defence because we want to build the capacity of our troops to protect territorial sovereignty at the border. Cambodia and Thai troops have confronted each other since July 2008 near Cambodia’s 11th century Preah Vihear temple.”

“We have to protect sovereignty and our dignity for the country and we can not bow our heads to interfering in our independence,” said Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon. The NA will allow the government to borrow US$400 million dollars in 2010 from foreign partners to implement the projects, Keat Chhon said, adding that the government will tighten tax collection for national revenue to implement this expenditure. “We increase tax on some fields from early 2010,” he said.

According to the draft national budget for 2010, Cheam Yeam said agriculture will receive 1.7 per cent of the budget, an increase of 13.6 percent. The rural development ministry will get 1.65 percent, and increase of 30.4 percent from 2009. Education will get US$196 million and the Health Ministry US$142 million, he added.

Keat Chhon predicted around 2 percent growth in 2010, adding that the government is taking action to mitigate the financial crisis and strengthen financial system for economic policy to stabilize the macro-economy. The budget will focus on improving and building rural infrastructure to reduce poverty among local people and commits to working effectively and with transparency, Keat Chhon said.

Yim Sovann, lawmaker from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said that local people will be charged more by the government to implement the 2010 budget “but in this context of finance crisis we should not put pressure on people through tax payment. The government will charge more tax on luxury items like cars and up import taxes, the draft law said.

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