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Assembly Committee Weighs 2009 Budget

One of the first tasks for the new National Assembly will be the approval of the 2009 budget, which is now being considered in the finance committee.

The total budget for 2009 is $2 billion, an increase of 28 percent over the year before, said Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yiep, who is the head of the finance committee.

Spending in 2009 will increase across six sectors, but a large portion will be spent on national defense, he said.

Money budgeted healthcare, education, rural development, agriculture, women’s affairs and social affairs will rise more than 5 percent, but spending for national defense will rise nearly 70 percent, to about $500 million, according to Cheam Yiep, whose committee is reviewing a draft of the budget.

Ke Sovannaroth, secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, said Wednesday she was disappointed with the taxation outlined in the new budget.

“The government will be increasing the taxes that affect the goods people use every day,” she said.

She was also concerned that management of the budget in each ministry would not be undertaken “effectively and with transparency.”