The National Assembly on Monday approved the borrowing of foreign loans worth more than $300 million, after the government spent beyond its budgets for 2009 and 2010.
The move was passed by a vote of 80 lawmakers of 102 present, in a session to recorrect the national budget for the last two years.
Loans will be taken from the foreign community to refill the coffers for $46.8 million and $265 million for 2009 and 2010, respectively, according to a request from the administration to the Assembly.
Finance Minister Keat Chhon told the Assembly Monday the government has a clear policy for concessionary loans for investment in infrastructure and to promote economic growth.
Cheam Yeap, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and head of the National Assembly’s finance committee, said the loans would make up for deficiencies in revenue stemming from the 2008 economic crisis and from overspending from the military standoff at Preah Vihear temple.
“Cambodia needed more money to equip Cambodian soldiers to defend national sovereignty and territory,” he said.
Yim Sovann, a spokesman and lawmaker for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said Cambodia must be careful with foreign loans.
“If we depend on the loan holder who looks at hour natural resources, land, oil and mining resources, and come to violate Cambodia’s rights, and destroys our environment, we must absolutely avoid the loan,” he said.
Opposition members did not support this loan initiative because it was not clearly allocated, he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote in a statement to the Assembly the amount of these loans “will not bring Cambodian loans to a worrisome situation.”