Phnom Penh, October 08, 2020: There are 16 NGO members of Budget Working Group (BWG) co-organizes a public forum on “Citizen Engagement in the Budget Formulation and Monitoring on Public Budget Expenditure Process”. Today’s forum was attended by a total of 160 participants, including representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, representatives of the European Union, representatives of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD). Representatives of civil society organizations and youth in 17 provinces / cities (Koh Kong, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Takeo, Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom, Kratie, Stung Treng, Kampot, Kep, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khum and Phnom Penh), media journalists, development partners, researchers, the private sector and students. The three main objectives of this forum are:
1) Increase public awareness and participation in budget transparency and accountability, including the process of budget planning at the national and sub-national levels.
2) Provide opportunities for taxpayers, including youth, civil society / NGOs, to engage with relevant ministries and policymakers aimed at increasing public participation in the national and sub-national budget planning cycle.
3) Provide opportunities for taxpayers, including youth, civil society / NGOs, provide input to relevant ministries and policy makers aimed at improving transparency and accountability of the national budget.
Through the results of this forum, the team will compile to share with all stakeholders to consider some key points to improve and ensure a development that does not to leave on one behind.
Citizens’ participation in the management of public finances is important because it helps all stakeholders to understand the real needs of the community and promotes transparency and accountability towards the provision of public services. Said by Mr. Chey Sambath Phalla, Chairman of the Policy Analysis and Development Unit of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) on the occasion of the opening of the Public Forum on “Citizen participation in the process of budget planning and monitoring of public budget expenditures.”
In addition, Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of NGOF, emphasized that the participation of citizens in the management of public finances is very important because it can help local authorities and the Investment Planning Commission to know the needs. Commitment of the community as well as promoting transparency and accountability towards the achievement of effective public services and gain the trust of the people even more. If we look at the legal framework at the sub-national level, there are many laws and policies designed to promote public participation, especially in the preparation and monitoring of budget implementation. But implementation of sub-national laws and regulations regarding public participation across the country is still limited.
In addition, Ms. Lim Solin, Country Director of Oxfam Cambodia, stated that the main common goal to contribute to reducing poverty and social inequality is to monitor the implementation of a comprehensive public financial reform program. Transparency and accountability in all aspects, as well as the participation of civil society and citizens, and prioritize attention to vulnerable groups, people living below the poverty line, especially women and girls. Increase the effective collection of income, equity with investment and public spending on social sectors such as health, education, social protection and so on.