The government signed concessional loan agreements with development partners – both bilateral and multilateral – amounting to about $8.3 billion from 1993 to the end of 2016, official figures show.
Of this sum, 86.6 percent was for infrastructure. Other priority sectors accounted for the rest, according to the Cambodia Public Debt Statistical Bulletin released last week by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The bulletin said the government borrowed $5.3 billion from countries on a bilateral basis. Of this, $3.59 billion came from China, $900 million from Japan, and $124 million from France.
Other lenders were India ($75 million), South Korea ($510 million), Malaysia ($7.85 million), Thailand ($86 million) and Vietnam ($44.5 million). From multilateral development partners, Cambodia borrowed in total about $3 billion.
The Asian Development Bank provided $2 billion, the World Bank $794 million, the International Fund for Agriculture Development $87 million, Nordic Development Fund $10.6 million and the OPEC Fund for International Development $70 million.
The report said the government disbursed $5.8 billion from development partners. About 64 percent of this $3.7 billion was from bilateral sources.
Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmonirath was quoted in the bulletin as saying that the government has four principles to manage the public debt. “The first is that the size of the loan must comply with the national budget situation and the economy,” he said.
Pornmonirath said the loans mostly refer only to concessional terms with highly favourable conditions. “They must be for a priority sector supporting sustainable growth and increased productivity of the economy. The loans must involve transparency, accountability, efficiency, and high effectiveness,” he added.
“I believe that the Cambodia Public Debt Statistical Bulletin will surely boost the deep understanding of the public as well as relevant stakeholders about the Cambodian debt situation.”
Debt sustainability analysis showed that all the five key debt indicators were well below the respective indicative thresholds. “Based on international best practice, therefore, Cambodia’s public debt remains ‘sustainable’ and ‘low risk’ of debt distress,” stated the bulletin.
The bulletin added that for about 23 years, Cambodia has made debt service payments to development partners amounting to $885 million of which 1.88 percent or $16.6 million was public domestic debt and 98.12 percent or $868.86 million was public external debt.
The report said that in 2016 alone, Cambodia signed concessional loan agreements with development partners worth a total of $802 million.
Also in 2016, the government disbursed $546 million from development partners of which 69.85 percent, or $381.89 million, was from bilateral partners and 30.15 percent or $164.86 million from multilateral partners.
In 2016, the government made debt service payment to development partners amounting to $186 million of which 0.05 percent or $0.09 million was public domestic debt and 99.95 percent or $185.96 million was public external debt.
As of December 31, the Cambodian government had a total public debt of $5.867 billion of which 0.05 percent or $2.74 million was public domestic debt and 99.95 percent or $5.863 billion public external debt.