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2010 Budget Sees Increases in Key Sectors

The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the draft law for the 2010 budget, with overall spending reaching nearly $2 billion.

Defense and security spending increased by more than $50 million, while health and education spending rose nearly 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

The overall budget of $1.99 billion was an increase of more than $100 million from the year before.

Defense and security received $276 million, the Ministry of Health $144 million, the Ministry of Education $198 million, the Ministry of Agriculture $20 million, and the Ministry of Water Resources $8.8 million.

Finance Minister Keat Chhon thanked the National Assembly for passage of the new budget and said Cambodia was on track to reduce poverty by 1 percent in 2010.

The three parliamentarians of the Human Rights Party did not vote for the budget, because spending in areas like health care and education were only raised a small amount, HRP President Kem Sokha said. “Bigger spending was on defense and security.”

“The 2010 national budget forces people to pay taxes, and put tax payment pressure on the poor and rich as they suffer from the world economic crisis,” said Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.