During a weeklong visit from Indian President Pratibha Patil, Cambodia received a boost to its National Audit Authority, along with other agreements.
India agreed to provide training to at least eight Cambodian audit officials per year in New Delhi, under its Comptroller and Auditor General. Officials said the training will help the auditors carry out their functions as an independent entity and help improve governance and public finance.
“In principle, the Cambodian and Indian sides will have a mutual auditing experience exchange,” Uth Chhon, president of the National Audit Authority, told VOA Khmer. “Importantly, India has a national auditing institute for auditing skills and professionalism. So we can cooperate with the Indian side to send our officials to study.”
“Public auditing is a new thing in Cambodia,” he said. “If we do not upgrade our capacity, we will not follow world development.”
Auditing experts say a lack of transparency and reliability has hindered Cambodia's development.
“If India strengthens the skillful auditing capacity of Cambodian officials, for higher standards than present, that will be very good,” said Huoth Sony, a tax manager for Accounting Solution Cambodia Co., Ltd.
“If Cambodian auditing officials have a capacity for fairness and knowledge, they can find irregularities...and can fulfill their auditing work with great effectiveness and transparency,” said Leap Chamnan, a private auditor.
India has also provided $15 million in credit to Cambodia for water resource development in Kampong Speu province.
The deal will help irrigate about 25,000 hectares of crops and prevent flooding at Stung Tassal in Oral district.
An agreement was signed between Export-Import Bank of India Director P. Dalal and Aun Porn Moniroth, a secretary of state for the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The Stung Tassal Water Resource Development Project will help water crops in both the rainy and dry seasons, prevent flooding and provide hydropower, said Chan Yuttha, cabinet chief for the Ministry of Water Resources.
Farmers will benefit from two seasons of rice crop, said Dith Sareth, head of the Kampong Speu provincial agricultural office.
However, Yim Kimthan, a project director for the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said farmers would also need proper technical knowledge to ensure they benefit from the irrigation.