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Heavy Debt Will Burden Next Generation, Opposition Says

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Tuesday his legislators had found billions of dollars in debt owed by the government to foreign countries, a burden it was leaving to the next generation.

Speaking outside the National Assembly after budget debates, Sam Rainsy said Cambodia owed as much as $6 billion in debt that had been covered up.

"Because the borrower spends the money loaned from foreign countries without control, 40 years later, our younger generation will have to pay it," he said.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin said the figure is hard to believe and that foreign debt has always been audited.

"The debt was carried on since the State of Cambodia, which also carried the previous generation's debt," he said.

The government has been making debt repayments every year since 1993, Chiem Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly's finance and banking committee, said.

The government borrows about $300 million every year, he said.