Cambodia on March 20 launched the 2023-2027 fourth and final phase of the Public Financial Management Reform Program (PFMRP) centred on improving performance accountability, seen as a key support for progress towards the 2030 and 2050 government visions.

Speaking at the launch ceremony in the capital, Prime Minister Hun Sen remarked that Cambodia has been reshaped by a whole host of political and economic reforms, highlighting two major ones from during his tenure: the peace talks that ended decades of civil war, and the PFMRP.

Over the past two decades, the programme in all its phases – also referred to as “stages” – have helped Cambodia make historic achievements in areas such as socio-economic development, in addition to its central focus of public financial management, he said.

“Socio-economic growth is closely linked to performance in public financial management and of the national budget,” Hun Sen said, revealing that government revenues and spending are planned at 32.936 trillion riel ($8.2 billion) and 41.537 trillion riel, respectively.

The premier said that the PFMRP provided Cambodia with economic leverage, and enabled economic growth to stabilise, paving the way for the Kingdom’s entry into the “lower-middle income” group of countries in 2015, as well as for its potential debut in the “upper-middle income” and “high-income” brackets in 2030 and 2050, respectively.

The programme and its implementation have “strengthened the ownership and role of the Royal Government of Cambodia in controlling the destiny of the nation”, he said, sharing that, 30 years ago, foreign sources accounted for “about two-thirds” of the national budget, whereas now, foreign borrowing makes up fewer than “20 per cent”.

At the ceremony, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth remarked that the PFMRP has strengthened good governance and supported the development of a “strong” public financial system.

This, he said, has enabled the government to improve the lives of the people and quality of public services, through: the development of workers’ abilities, skills and knowledge; the construction of necessary physical infrastructure such as communication, irrigation and electricity systems; and building of more schools and hospitals.

“We’ll be even more successful in implementing this fourth phase, and achieve the vision of transforming Cambodia’s public financial management system in line with international standards and criteria of excellence, which will be essential to ensure that the nation is on track to deliver the 2030 and 2050 visions,” he said.

According to the finance ministry, the PFMRP has been implemented in phases thusly: Phase I from late 2004 to 2005 with a focus on “Strengthened Budget Credibility”; the 2009-2015 Phase II on “Improved Financial Credibility”; the 2016-2022 Phase III on “Linking the Budget to Policy”; and the 2023-2027 Phase IV on “Improved Achievement Accountability”.