Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have a great honor and pleasure today to join with Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen in the workshop on the dissemination of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services.
On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, may I extend my warmest congratulation and appreciation to the efforts of the General Secretariat of the Council of the Administrative Reform with the cooperation from JICA and the Republic of France in organizing this workshop. I am convinced that the dissemination and promotion of the implementation of the 2ndGovernance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services will deliver additional good results owing not only to our vast experiences and lessons learned from the previous implementation of action plan, but this is our commitment to exert efforts, in particular, to implement the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government aiming at promoting economicgrowth, generating employment and ensuring equity and efficiency that nowadays become the primary agenda of the nation.
More importantly, the dissemination and more effective implementation of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and the Policy on Provision of Public Services happens at the time when Cambodia is gradually moving out from the rehabilitation and establishment of basic foundation stage for sustainable development and entering into a new era in terms of enhancing and generating Dynamics to enhance the Take off of the national economy in order to achieve high and sustainable economic growth in the long term which is the most important pre-condition in poverty reduction and guarantees prosperity and advancement of the nation.
In order to lead the nation forward, the Royal Government of Cambodia has determined to implement all the fundamental policies including the adoption of good governance to ensure strict implementation of democracy, along with the transparency and guarantee freedom of speech as well as political stability, rules of law, equity and social order. The Royal Government has been carried out reform at all levels in order to fully ensure quick response, responsibility, effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, trust worthy and reliability in performing its job in serving the need of the people.
Whereas, after having implemented the economic and financial policies of the Royal Government from 1994 to 2006, Cambodia’s economy has achieved the average growth rate of 8.3% per annum. Also, since 1999 when the whole nation obtained full peace, the economy grew at the average of 9.5% per annum. At the same time, inflation was kept low at an average of 4.2% per annum between 1994 and 2006. Income per capita has increased on an average of 6% per annum from $247 U.S dollar in 1994 to $500 U.S dollar in 2006. International reserve increased by 11 times from $100 million U.S dollar in 1994 to $1,097 million U.S dollar in 2006.
All of the above factors reflect the success of reforms in which the Royal Government has been strictly implementing which included: Public Financial Management Reform, Financial Sector Development and Private Sector Development, especially the improvement in investment and business environment, trade facilitation, private sector participation in the physical infrastructure and the development of small and medium enterprises along with Land Reform, Administrative Reform and Legal and Juridical Reform.
Indeed, macroeconomic achievements obtained so far have positive affects on linking the nation’s social fabric, strengthening a peaceful culture, guaranteeing security, safety and social order, respecting the human rights and dignity and enhancing democracy. Moreover, these achievements have opened up a rare window of opportunity for all Cambodians to actively contribute to the rehabilitation and development of the nation and allow them to gain benefit from their efforts that will gradually improve their living conditions and social welfare.
Indeed, policy reform in all sectors including today’s dissemination and adoption of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services, have created a new ingredient among our development forces. However, we also acknowledge that although having good policies is important, the consistent and careful implementation of those policies are even more meaningful and crucial. Therefore, the facilitation and share of information within and between ministries and government institutions need to be improved. Our challenge is to ensure that good governance system must operate effectively along with the increased access to knowledge and modern technology.
In this sense, reform is not just a word of mouth. The implementation of the reform requires not only political will but also a lot of human resource and financial resources.
In the good governance sector, the key priority among all else is to encourage and speed up the fight against corruption including judicial and legal reform, accelerating the implementation of the public financial reform, encouraging the implementation of public administration reform and further strengthening the measurement of centralization and decentralization to be even more effective.
At the same time, I would like to emphasize that the drafted law on fighting corruption which has been prepared under wide and comprehensive discussion is at the final stage of careful consideration among relevant ministries and government institutions before the government make a review and approve and then submit to the legislature. In addition, as a part to enhance good governance, the Royal Government has strongly determined to ensure that all civil servants have the rights to get full incentive from their works.
At the same time, it is noticeable that the progress of administrative reform that government has been trying so far, has gained many achievements such as the establishment of legal standard for civil servant control, introducing the new performance appraisal system and incentive scheme, integrating civil servants into new performance appraisal system, establishing the civil servant management information system, increasing civil servant payroll, developing and implementing training program for civil servants, developing policies on public service provision, introducing priority mission group, creating national land conflict solution authority, establishing a commission to fight corruption, creating civil code and civil code procedure, and creating crime code and crime code procedure.
In this sense, I acknowledge that in order to push into a rather more in-depth implementation of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services, we need to further effectively improve the capacity of our civil servants to provide public service to the people at all levels. Indeed, we need those civil servants who work very hard to serve benefit of the people with Effectiveness and Efficiency. In this regard, the Royal Government clearly understands the necessary to enhance remuneration for civil servants and to strengthen the merit-base management for public administration as a whole.
Meanwhile, the initiation to merit-base incentive program which has been implementing at the Ministry of Economy and Finance is a government program aimed at encouraging civil servants by providing them with high salary but required a system which carefully control and implement their merits as well. The civil servants who were selected for the merit-base incentive program are based on their merits and competitiveness. Recruited officials who have performed well according to the term of reference will be allowed to continue their job in the program.
On the other hand, officials who have performed poorly in their job will be withdrawn from the program. We need to learn from our experience in this pilot program and further consider the possibility to comprehensively expand this initiative in other line ministries and government institutions.
Another important vision of the Royal Government of Cambodia as whole and public administration in particular is to transform the public administration into an efficient and high quality public service provider and gain confidence from development partners and the people. In this regard, the main goal of the Royal Government in public services provision is “to better serve the people.” Under this framework, the important tasks are to mainly focus on the needs of the people by changing the behavior and habit of the public servants and improving the capacity of public servants and institutions.
Frequently, during national and international forums, I used to emphasize on the necessity of broad participation in preparing the policies through encouraging the participation and cooperation between the Royal Government and development partners, NGOs, private sector and civil society in a harmonious environment. In general, I have also pointed out some key works of the Royal Government for advancing and promoting sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.
However, as for today, it is not necessary for me to give a full detail on the meaning of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services, but I would like to comment on key points that can be considered as the common strategy for implementation as follows:
First, the strengthening of peace, stability and public order through actual measures aiming at nurturing the state of law, protecting human rights and democracy in order to create a favorable political and security environment for long-term sustainable development.
Second, fostering sustainable economic growth in which the private sector must play as the driving force and distribute the fruit of economic growth equitably between rich and poor, urban and rural and women and men.
Third, strengthen social and cultural development by providing more opportunities to poor people in order for them to gain access to education, health care, clean water and hygiene, electricity, credit, information and suitable technology.
Fourth, mobilize local resources through adopting and implementing the development policy on industry financing and banking system to encourage saving from the private sector and through public finance reform program which aimed at improving public revenue and rationalize public expenditure as well as program budgeting.
Fifth, mobilize investment resources in the priority sector and improve agricultural productivity in order to ensure the building of a strong foundation for national economic growth. Infrastructure and other physical facilities such as road network, irrigation, water supply and electricity distribution systems as well as telecommunication will play important roles and are the determined factors to broaden the source of economic growth.
Sixth, institutional capacity building and ensuring good governance are the key concepts of the sustainable and equitable economic development. These works related to the arrangement and strengthening of the state law, public administration reform, improving transparency, accountability and combating corruption which directly impacts on the fostering of investment and business and the distribution of growth to all cracks of the society.
Base on the above mentioned views, the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services will play the role as an important tool for success of many reforms which aims at achieving the motto of the Royal Government’s strategy on enhancing economic growth, generating employment for people, promoting equity and social justice as well as strengthen efficiency in the public sector by comprehensively and deeply implementing various reform programs.
At the same time, enhancing policy coordination with development partners is an important work in strengthening good governance aiming at fighting against corruption as well as enhancing the comprehensive and deep implementation of the reform programs in all sectors. Meanwhile, all these works must combine into a single system, which is interconnected and complementary to one another for the purpose of socio-economic development as well as encouraging better utilization and management of the national resources. Taking this opportunity, I would like to appeal to all development partners, private sector, civil society and NGOs to cooperate and support the implementation of the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services to be even more effective.
Finally, I would like to thank the civil servants of all ministries and institutions, all hierarchies of local authorities, armed forces and national compatriots that have exerted their utmost efforts under the acute limited of resources and under all kinds of difficulty, in contributing to today’s progresses.
I would like to thank development partners including the civil society and international communities that actively contributed to the bright success of Cambodia. We must hold the courage and forwarding view that; we have no other option, but to double our efforts in smoothly and effectively working together. I wish all of you Five Gems of Buddhist Blessings.I would like to disseminate the 2nd Governance Action Plan and Policy on the Provision of Public Services from now on.