H.E. Dr. SOK AN, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER,
MINISTER IN CHARGE OF THE OFFICE OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS,
CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM
DURING THE 3rd CAMBODIA DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FORUM
Phnom Penh, June 3, 20101
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
It is with great pleasure that I have opportunity to address you today. On behalf of the Anti-corruption Unit, the Council for Legal and Judicial Reform and the Council for Administrative Reform, I would like to extend my warm welcome to you.
I would like take the opportunity of this third CDCF to salute the efforts of our partners to align their development programs to the priorities of the Royal Government. Peace and political stability throughout the nation provides us with opportunities to enhance the prosperity of the country and the wellbeing of the people that we could only dream about a few years ago.
Now is the time for us to seize these opportunities and make headways in an area so important in our globalized and unstable world: good governance and the Rule of Law which are at the heart of the Royal Government’s Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency. The fight against corruption, the Legal and Judicial Reform and the Administrative Reform are closely related.
Since the last CDCF, the Royal Government has made important progress in each of these three areas. To illustrate:
Each of these successes reinforces, in one way or another, the Rule of Law in our country. And our pace is accelerating.
In the fight against corruption, we have accomplished some remarkable achievements. We are actively structuring the mechanisms necessary to the effective implementation of the Anti-corruption Law in accordance with the law. In this regard, we are mobilizing all necessary resources and nominating trustworthy and competent leaders and qualified staff. We will develop capacity of the institution to enforce the law, to promote public awareness of the negative effect of graft and to jointly support the national action plan for combating corruption. In tandem with the Legal and Judicial Reform and the Administrative Reform we will remove causes of corruption and provide people with recourse and redress mechanisms.
Building on its achievements, the Legal and Judicial Reform will, in the coming period:
I would like to use the few minutes I have left to expand on the Administrative Reform and the National Program for Administrative Reform, the subject matter of our agenda item.
The objective of the Administrative Reform is to serve people better for the prosperity of the Nation and the wellbeing of people. To do so, we shall make public institutions and processes more transparent, responsive and efficient. And, we shall change attitude and behavior from that of administrators to service providers by promoting motivation, loyalty, professionalism and a culture of service throughout the Public Administration. The JMIs illustrate well major elements of our program of action for the coming period.
But these are only a fraction of the work the reform has undertaken. The draft NPAR is a comprehensive and ambitious program of reform. With our partners, the CAR is developing an implementation plan together with coordinated support programs of assistance.
At the moment, our efforts focus on two important elements of the reform:
1) the compendium on public services;
2) the Priority Operating Costs instrument;
Please allow me to expand on each of these immediate priorities of the reform.
The Compendium on public services was developed in close collaboration with responsible ministries. The compendium provides core information to users of services: who is responsible, required documentation, costs, timeline etc. This information is being widely disseminated to users. They could use it to improve their access to the services and, if necessary, to complain to relevant authorities or seek redress. The compendium being finalized is a first step to enhance transparency and fight corruption. With the compendium as a baseline, ministries will improve the quality and delivery of services, service by service to further improve transparency, responsiveness and efficiency.
The CAR has been working very hard with ministries and development partners to structure the Priority Operating Costs instrument, as transitory tool to support the delivery of public services. Three key words will characterize the establishment and management of POCs: alignment, harmonization and adjustment. You all are familiar with the first two key words. I would like to briefly expand on the notion of adjustment. This principle is critical to balancing performance and equity, our major challenge in any such scheme. Overtime, it shall be possible to cover a broader range of services with available resources. It is estimated that in 2009, development partners spent over 20 millions US dollars involving some 13,000 civil servants in various form of salary supplementation schemes. Surely, we can do better and do it in ways that are more transparent, more merit based and more equitable.
On April 9, I met with a group of high level representatives from development partners. We agreed on core principles to guide our efforts concerning the POC and to empower technical teams. One of those principles is that the POC instrument and a review of compensation policy are on two separate parallel tracks. POC is a transitory measure which shall be reviewed in 18 months and that shall replace all form of salary supplementation by development partners. Compensation is a permanent responsibility of the State that shall meet strict criteria. Compensation in the Civil Service depends on economic growth and thus government revenues; it shall promote performance, equity and unity within and among State institutions. Foremost, compensation cannot be rolled back; compensation shall be sustainable and thus affordable in the long term.
POC involves the payment of periodic lump sums to civil servants within the context of development projects supported by development partners. These civil servants will be selected by way of merit based transparent processes. POC directors will be held accountable and personally responsible in front of the law for any transgression or corrupt acts in the selection of POC appointees.
The Royal Government is committed to reforming compensation. Already a major effort is underway with the across the board 20% yearly increase in base salary. What more can be done will depend on macro-economic stability and growth and the available fiscal space.
The technical teams working on the POC have progressed well. A guide to assist ministries and their partners to establish, manage and monitor POC is being finalized. We will be ready to deploy the scheme by the end of this month.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
These are but two examples of activities undertaken under the aegis of the Administrative Reform. The National Program of Administrative Reform now being finalized is an ambitious program of reform of coherent and sequenced actions covering a broad front.
This year is a pivotal year for the reform. After successfully facilitating the unification and structuring of the Civil Service, the reform has been focusing on strengthening management and control mechanisms with such activities as: the census; the strengthening of personnel management processes such as recruitment, examination, promotion and pension; and, the finalization of policy frameworks on the management and development of human resources and redeployment. Tools to assist ministries review their operations for efficiency and improve service delivery processes are being readied. Studies are underway to inform on compensation.
Attention is turning to enhancing performance in the Civil Service by transforming it into an effective service provider. The ongoing census will provide information on available skills and thus allow for a better use of existing capacity. Programs to enhance human and institutional capacity will be designed and implemented, management capacity will be further developed and compensation will be reformed.
The reform has achieved important milestones over the years. I am very encouraged by its future prospects. The ongoing dialogue and collaboration between the CAR and development partners are promising.
Thank you very much for your attention.