Cambodia’s Plan on $9 Billion National Budget for 2024

Meeting at the Office of the Council of Ministers on Oct. 27. Photo: Prime Minister Hun Manet / Telegram

PHNOM PENH – Education services, defense and public works are poised to be the biggest spenders under next year’s national budget.

However, spending at a national level is being cut as the government shifts resources to the sub-national level.

The draft budget was submitted to the Council of Ministers for discussion before a final version is sent to the National Assembly for approval.

The government plans to spend 37,110,404 million riel (more than $9 billion), of which national expenditure will be 34,497,444 million riel ($8 billion) and sub-national 4,331,871 million riel ($1 billion).  

Total spending will be down 5.3 percent on this year as the government recoups funds used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national expenditure is equivalent to 24.13 percent of GDP, a decrease of 5.8 percent compared to last year. Sub-national expenditure is equivalent to 3.03 percent, up 6.6 percent.

The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, the Ministry of National Defense, and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport have the highest budget plans, totaling $2 billion. 

The Education Ministry plans to spend 4,051,781 million riel ($900 million). The Devense Ministry expects to spend 2,934,518 million riel ($700 million) and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport plans to spend 2,851,302 (nearly $700 million).

The Ministry of Health budget has been set at 2,668 153 million riel (roughly $66 million), while the Ministry of Interior budget has been set at 2,390,413 million riel (roughly $50 million). The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation expects to spend 399,257 million riel (roughly $9 million), while the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications plans to spend only 335,721 million riel (roughly $8 million).

Salary Increases 

Staff costs are expected to be 10,254,967 million riel (roughly  $25million), which will be determined by the Civil Service Ministry later. 

In education, the government plans to increase teachers' and doctors’ monthly salaries from 1,400,000 riel ($350) in 2023 to about 1,456,950 riel (roughly $360) in 2024. The salary of the National Police will also be increased from 1,251,000 riel ($312) in 2023 to 1,306,550 riel ($326) in 2024. 

Development of Health Care Services 

The Ministry of Health budget has been set at 2,668 153 million riel ($66 million).

The government plans to spend $59 million to further develop primary healthcare at the local level by improving the quality of services. 

Most notably, the government plans to spend $83 million to expand rural healthcare. 

In addition, the government plans to spend $9 million on the safe village-commune policy. The government is more cautious about drug trafficking and drug use in the community. Thus, they put more effort into reducing and eliminating these activities. 

Pech Pisey, the executive director of International Transparency Cambodia, said the government should ensure budget transparency and accountability as well as an independent audit function.

“Another main recommendation is addressing structural issues to combat widespread corruption, improving effective public service delivery and reducing main barriers of doing business in Cambodia,” he said.

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