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PHNOM PENH -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved over 29 million U.S. dollars in financing to help Cambodia improve service delivery through key reforms in public financial management and decentralization, said a press statement on Wednesday.
The Second Decentralized Public Service and Financial Management Sector Development Program includes a 20-million-U.S.-dollar policy-based loan that will support a programmatic approach to strengthening local governments' fiscal planning and management, as well as public administration, the statement said.
It also includes a 9.35-million-U.S.-dollar project loan to help build the National School of Local Administration, a dedicated training center for local government officials, the statement added.
"The project aims to help local governments across Cambodia provide sustainable, effective, and efficient delivery of basic public services, while also bridging the urban-rural divide," said ADB senior public management specialist Jhelum Thomas.
"The project is much needed, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has seen significant numbers of people move from urban to rural areas," she said. "This will put more pressure on local governments to provide social assistance and basic services such as roads, water supply, and sanitation to support inclusive and equitable growth."
According to the statement, more than 70 percent of Cambodians lived on less than three U.S. dollars a day and access to basic services has been uneven.
It added that poor and vulnerable households are especially at risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a significant decline in key sectors of Cambodia's economy and losses in livelihoods.