Coalition Vows Fiscal Reforms

Funcinpec and the CPP, pledging to extract Cambodia from an eco­nomic mire, have made broad promises to clean up their fiscal act in a joint political program ex­pe­cted to go before the National Assembly today.

The platform for an expected coalition government, labeled “the economic government” by the CPP, is a 19-page agreement that addresses subjects ranging from bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to trial to protecting freedom of the press.

Parliament is expected to vote today on whether to accept a proposed CPP-Funcinpec coalition government and its political platform.

The promises of fiscal austerity—none of which appear to be new—also reiterate what technical partners like the UN Develop­ment Program and economists have been warning for years: that the government must reform its rev­enue collection system to have any chance of improving stan­dard of living.

Reaching the country’s economic goals, the platform says, “needs contributions both dom­est­­ically and internationally in a process of developing the national economy,” the parties said.

The platform, signed Nov 20 by six party officials from Func­inpec and the CPP and obtained Sun­day, also notes that Cam­bodia’s possible entry to the reg­ional economic trade bloc Asean next month could force the country to end its reliance on import tariffs.

“The membership of Cam­b­odia in Asean in the near future will strongly influence a change in the structure of the state budget revenue,” the likely coalition partners said.

Noting that the import tax revenues under an Asean agreement must drastically be reduced, the parties pledged that the government will increase its watch on other forms of tax collection.

The parties also note that budget priorities must begin to add­ress the country’s social ills.

Earlier this year, the government’s expenditures hit 51 percent ($121 million of $238 million) for defense and security, according to World Bank statistics. Social Affairs and Labor got $14 million, 6 percent of expenditures to that point.

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