National Budget

Cap on Civil Servant Recruits to Save National Budget

Prime Minister Hun Sen said less civil servants will be hired to preserve the national budget and avoid the economic woes currently faced in Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, August 23, 2022. Kiripost via PM's Facebook page
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, August 23, 2022. Kiripost via PM's Facebook page

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday there will be less hirings of new civil servants in a bid to help save the national budget.

In a speech at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said there must be a clear limit before recruiting for state institutions because it can affect the national budget, while the expenditure policy is limited to only 4 percent.

At the same time, the Sri Lankan crisis is compounded by the high cost of recruiting civil servants, Hun Sen said.

“Do not just hire them. Previously, 10 people retired and at some institutions, 10 people would be recruited, while at some institutions, five or three people would be hired to alleviate cutting down costs on staff.”

To become a civil servant, people must go through examinations and the best candidates is hired, Hun Sen said.

Sri Lanka has more civil servants than Cambodia, Hun Sen said, adding that today Cambodia has more than 400,000 civil servants compared to Sri Lanka’s 1.8 million.

“If I give a proposal, I will only cut staff to alleviate the staff burden, because usually the staff costs only 4 percent of the GDP,” he said.

Pech Pisey, Executive Director at Transparency International Cambodia, said on Tuesday that the economic crisis in Sri Lanka can be a good lesson for Cambodia. Principles for limiting the use of budgets and disbursements can have a positive effect on the flow of socio-economic growth.

“The government's strategy should be to reduce the number of civil servants or not choose more if we cannot cut or we have to send public officials to the area where they need help, need service for that officer to work,” Pisey told Kiripost.

Given Cambodia's economic conditions, there is no risk of the country going bankrupt like Sri Lanka, Pisey said. He added that Cambodia is still in a safe place and has been able to maintain stability in the textile (garment) sector, exports continue to perform well, while real estate and construction remain stable. Cambodia has maintained economic growth of 4 to 5 percent of GDP.

“So, we think we cannot be like Sri Lanka but I think all these issues should not be neglected or the lessons learned from Sri Lanka be overlooked, and we need to be careful about keeping debt below risk,” he said.