Government Greenlights $14.4 Billion Public Investment Programme

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The Council of Ministers has given a green light to a public investment programme that will see the government and its development partners spend $14.4 billion in more than 600 projects over the next three years.

Phnom Penh’s rapidly expanding skyline. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The amount is $9 billion higher than the last public investment programme approved by the Council of Ministers. The 2017-2019 public investment programme, which was approved in 2016, consisted of $5.23 billion to cover 519 projects.

Information from Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), the national press agency, said the public investment programme for 2020-2022 was approved last week in a Council of Ministers meeting presided by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Chief government spokesman Phay Siphan said on his Facebook page that the programme will ensure the continuity of the Kingdom’s economic growth. Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

“The programme’s purpose is to ensure economic growth of around 7 percent per year and to further reduce poverty through investment in agriculture and rural development,” he said.

According to Mr Siphan, 53.8 percent of the funding will go to infrastructure projects, with the rest going to finance, social, and service sector projects.

The biggest spending will come in 2021, with $5.1 billion allotted. $4.5 and $4.8 billion were set aside for 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Citing figures from the Ministry of Land Development, AKP said that funding will go to 608 investment projects, 171 of which are ongoing and need additional funding.

These include major infrastructure projects like roads, airports, dams, ports, and bridges, and initiatives to develop the country’s fisheries, agriculture, health, and energy sectors, among others.

So far, according to AKP, the government and development partners have committed a combined $8.4 billion, with the government looking for another $6 billion to cover the cost of the entire programme.

It is understood that these development partners include China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union, which are among the biggest sources of investments and development assistance to the Kingdom.

With regards to the $6 billion balance, the government is expected to tap the assistance not only of its development partners or foreign governments but also the private sector.

In an interview last month, Jones Chan, CEO of Gold Whale Co Ltd, a local investment manager, said they are ready to partner with the government to find funding sources for major projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.

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