Your Venerable Monks,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear all compatriots!
Today, my wife and I are extremely pleased to participate in the inauguration of the “Chruoy Changva Water Treatment Plant – Phase II” of Phnom Penh at the moment. This water treatment plant has been established timely and accordingly to the increasing demand of the people residing in Phnom Penh as well as in suburban areas around the city.
Indeed, the surge in capacity of Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to produce 300,000 cubic meters per day with coverage area of 90% of people living in Phnom Penh and surrounding areas reflect the effort and development of the current authority which started from ground zero after the 7th January in 1979 at the time when none of the population had access to clean water. In this sense, every cubic meter of water produced does indeed help to ease the people’s livelihood tremendously, and give huge value to humanity, society and economy. As a citizen dwelling in Phnom Penh, I would like to congratulate the progress in the capacity of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and the development of clean water production.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to convey my compliement and high appreciation to the management and all officials of the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy, particularly the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority for tiredlessly making effort for the sake of social interest by fulfilling duties with high sense of responsibility and overcoming all challenges during hard time until achieving enormous results in supplying water both quantitatively and qualitatively as well as helping in a number of other social activities. At the same time, I would like to thank all development partners who are always actively participating and providig cooperations and all kinds of financial and technical supports to rehabilitate and develop clean water sector and other sectors in the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia. Among those, the French Development Agency (FAD) and the French government and people alike have provided financial and technical supports for Chruoy Changva Water Treatment Plant – Phase II that we are witnessing today.
In parallel, I would like to give high appreciation to local authorities of all level and citizens living in Phnom Penh for constantly facilitating and providing close cooperation with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to install clean water distribution and supply system. This good cooperation did accelerate and promote the efficiency of the development of clean water supply system in Phnom Penh as for our benefit and for the whole society.
Having gone through long history of hardship and endurance, the government is being observed to have been traveling on the right track in leading Cambodia to firm development with prosperity and sustainability.
Furthermore, the achievements made in all sectors were born from the joint efforts, solidarity and sharp willingness to restore and develop the society and economy. particularly, by reviewing the clean water supply sector under the management of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, a public institution of economic nature, it can bee seen that this unit has made remarkable progress that it is now capable of supplying clean water to 90% of people living in Phnom Penh, and also providing subsidize to poor households for clean water usage, assisting in social affair and generated income worth of 7000 millions riel to the government for the last 3 years. This progress is our pride because if we take a look back in time, the progress and development of clean water supply system in Phnom Penh commenced from the scratch almost everywhere as compared to the 1990s when only about 9% of the people had access to clean water. At the present, the percentage of people living in suburban areas of provinces/cities having access to clean water jumped to 51% nation-wide. This fact reflects the progressive step that we all must acknowledge. Along with this progress, the water treatment plant which is capable of supplying up to 65,000 cubic meters, soon to be operated in moment, is undeniably an additional achievement among other major ones that the Royal Government has achieved in developing the society and economy.
The Phase II development of the Chruoy Changva Water Treatment Plant is a timely and effective response to the growing demand for clean water and the pace of socio-economic development. In particular, Phnom Penh city, which is the heart of Cambodia, is moving forward aggressively with the surging number of houses, buildings and trade centers which caused other supporting services to grow as well, together with the increase in population and the number of national and international tourists. This growth puts more pressure on the demand of better and efficient public service infrastructure such as electricity, transport, and clean water supply. Indeed, the newly-built treatment system and distribution network do not only improve the basic services for people living in Phnom Penh and the surrounding areas, but they will also play an important role in promoting tourism and other services to achieve sustainable growth, which is the Royal Government’s core strategy of poverty reduction.
Moreover, to relieve the hardship faced by business entities and individuals, the Royal Government has always paid particular attention to the price level of basic goods and services. Even during the recent global economic crisis, when the price of raw materials, commodities and oil went up, the Royal Government did not increase the water tariffs to reflect the rising oil and commodity prices and continue to provide subsidies to the poor to ensure social equity.
This originates from the firm implementation of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Rectangular Strategy as stipulated in the strategic triangle of rehabilitating and building physical infrastructure.
The Royal Government is fully aware of the key role of clean water supply in raising the living standards and welfare of the people as well as in eliminating poverty and improving the people’s quality of life. With regard to this necessity, the Royal Government is determined to realize the sector’s CMDG goals, more particularly, to ensure that 80% of urban population and 50% of rural population will have access to clean water by 2015. This target is indeed an ambitious one but, looking at the current pace of development of the Phnom Penh Autonomous Water Agency and its clear vision, firm determination and capacity, the Royal Government is very optimistic that this target can be achieved.
In particular, to realize what stipulated in the aforementioned vision, the construction of another water treatment plant in Nirouth has been started and is expected to complete by 2012. The capacity of that plant will be 135,000 m3 per day. As a consequence, we expect that the coverage of clean water supply will be broadened and reach the city’s outskirts and some regions of Kandal Provice. However, this attainment will not stop us from exerting more efforts, we will strive to provide water supply across the country.
In general, a notable development progress has been made across the country but we also acknowledge that we still have a long way to go and more challenges are awaiting us. We need to acknowledge our inadequacies that require further action. Our achievement is nowhere near the final target. Only the service level and quality of water supply in major cities and urban areas meet the required standard while water supply in small rural areas need to be further improved. In general, the private participation in this sector remains low compared to others. The big gap between the actual and required investment has hindered the development of this sector. To address this challenge, we must make everyone acknowledge that investment in water supply and clean living is a key for social development and economic growth. This also enables business entities and families to grap a new opportunity in their respective areas.
Moreover, due to these challenges, the Royal Government is required to double its efforts in speeding up development and promoting investment in all forms including pure private ownership, public- private partnership and public institutions in the sector of water supply in urban areas throughout the country in order to achieve the objectives of the National Millennium Development Goals.
Through this, I strongly believe in the spirit of responsibility of Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are civil servants, in serving the people in all circumstances to continue cooperation, build partnership with all related parties, development partners including the private sector in implementing all these substantial agendas. Along with attracting all resources from the development partners and personal resources for investment in this sector, the Royal Government will continue to promote the private sector to actively participate in development, irrigation management and clean water supply.
Along with these tasks, we will also put more efforts and further expand the managerial work for the welfare and progress of public enterprises and all public administrative institutions through good governance in an attempt to increase the production activities, productivities and a more extensive public service, which will be able to fulfill the requirement for entering the securities market in the near future. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to set a number of measures aiming to improve the business and managerial efficiency of public enterprises and public administrative institutions as follows:
- The technical and financial ministries in charged must promote the good implementation of enterprises in order to increase and expand efficiency in the practice of all legal frameworks and documents, which have been in effect, including technical and accounting measures, and financial management including the legal public procurement procedures aiming to improve transparency and accountability.
- The financial and technical ministries in charged must encourage the highly capable enterprises with good business and financial capacity to become a corporation, which can attract financing from the securities market or increase the shares from the private parties in order to expand the production activities and businesses according to the development of the national economy.
- The financial and technical ministries in charged must push all public enterprises to prepare policies and strategic investment plan for the short-, medium- and long terms. Every new investment project must be critically analyzed from economic and financial perspectives as well as asking for permission from both ministries in charged.
- The financial ministry in charged must push the enterprises to increase their saving by reducing unnecessary spending which do not serve the right purpose and mission of the enterprises. Along with that, the enterprises must be encouraged to abide by their duties toward the state, especially paying revenue to the state.
- The financial and technical ministries in charged and relevant ministries must meet with all public enterprises and public administrative institutions in order to review the technical, legal frameworks and experiences of the past implementation and bind the technical, economic and social policy documents to strengthen the management of pubic enterprises to be more effective, transparent and accountable.
Before ending, I would like to appreciate and highly evaluate the leadership and all levels of civil servants from the Phnom Penh Autonomous Water Supply Authority, who has put tremendous efforts in achieving this proud achievement. At the same time, I would like to once again thank all development partners, especially the French Agency for Development for providing financial and technical supports to make this project a reality.
At the end, with the inauguration of “Chruoy Changva Water Treatment Plant – Phase II”, my wife and I would like to you’re Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Lok Okgna, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests and all Compatriots the four Gems of Buddhist Blessing: longevity, nobility, health and strength.