The government intends to spend 9.555 trillion riels, or $2.321 million, on new officials to replace retiring teachers after a two-year break while also raising the number of officials and monthly allowances for the first time since the 2021 suspensions.
Under the national budget plan, new employees will be hired to replace 2022’s retirees, amounting to 3,000 teachers. In addition, monthly allowances for contracted officials will increase from 670,000 to 710,000 riels in 2023.
Mar Sophal, Program Manager of NGO Forum on Cambodia, said that the government has been battling the pandemic for more than two years, and spending has been trimmed by reducing working time at the office. However, there has not been a wage raise for two years.
“For at least two years, the wage of officials has not been raised. It is time to increase because of Covid recovery, the war crisis, and inflation in 2023,” Sophal told Kiripost.
He added that raising the wages of officials is necessary, and organizing the national elections for 2023 is required. However, maintaining balance and accountability in the national budget is important in spending, assessing public output, and requiring balance in order to participate.
Pech Pisey, Director of Transparency International Cambodia, said the government should monitor and evaluate cash flow expenses as feasible to effectively manage national budgets. He added that there are numerous public officials, but their job is often ineffective.
“Let's take a look at the enormous expenditure on wages and human resources compared to outcomes. It is not much compared to the outcomes,” he said, advising that the government limit the number of employees or use resources more effectively to cut expenses. He suggested increasing the salaries of those who work actively, rather than increasing the number.
Pisey added that the government should increase its efforts to ensure fairness and transparency in revenue collection to avoid revenue loss. Specifically, the government should ensure that existing laws and regulations are strictly enforced and fairly applied to every taxpayer to generate higher revenue and promote a level playing field.
The minimum remuneration of government officials will increase in accordance with the 2023 National Budget Law from 1,172,500 riels in 2022 to about 1,300,000 riels. Teachers and physicians will receive separate raises, from 1,272,500 riels in 2022 to about 1,400,000 riels.
In 2022, police salaries grew from 1,256,977 riels to 1,384,477 riels, including rice. Soldiers' salaries have been raised from 1,125,500 riels in 2022 to about 1,251,000 riels, without rice. Including rice, it amounts to about 1,309,477 riels.
The monthly minimum pension of former civil servants, veterans and national police officers will increase from 690,000 to 770,000 riels.