Local Government Official Numbers Swell

2 min read
Phnom Penh City Hall. (Hy Chhay/VOD)

The government announced an increase in provincial and district deputy governors, a move analysts said would only increase political appointees and have no impact on governance.

A sub-decree signed by Hun Sen on June 17 shows that the government had decided to expand the size of provincial and district boards of governors, which are made up of governors and deputy governors.

According to the decree, the number of provincial governors and deputies across the country increased from 175 to 275, whereas district governors and deputies increased from 1,020 to 1,428.

Per jurisdiction, the document increased provincial deputy governors from six to 10 per province, and deputy district governors from four to six per district, in addition to one governor for each area.

VOD could not reach Prum Sokha, minister of civil service, or government spokesperson Phay Siphan for comment.

Pech Pisey, the executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, called the expansion a political move and would do little to improve the working of the councils or provincial and district administrations.

“It means that currently, we are not using the whole potential of officials. So we should increase the effectiveness by using the potential of all officials and use all of their time to avoid cheating on their hours and work time,” Pisey said.

He said the government was only increasing personnel, which would require additional budgets, but not improving their skills to serve citizens.

CPP spokesperson Chhim Phal Virun rejected any criticism of the move and said it was the winning government’s imperative to decide how to administer sub-national governance.

Vann Bunna, a research fellow at Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said there were enough government personnel already, and the aim of the new decree was likely to strengthen the CPP’s political grip on local governance.

“In Cambodia’s situation, I think this is a kind of strengthening the power and providing benefits to party members as well as serving the party’s benefit in continuing to control power.”

Correction: This article earlier misstated that there would be an increase in the number of provincial and district councilors. However, the increase is only in deputy governors.

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