New govt body to regulate Cambodia’s digital economy

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has issued a sub-decree to establish the General Department of Digital Economy that will exclusively function under the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to direct, regulate and develop the digital economy in the country after the Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth made a proposal to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The RGC’s sub-decree issued on Thursday last week pointed out that the new general department will function with support from three departments that will be composed of several bureaus each including the Department of General Affairs, the Department of Digital Economy’s Infrastructure and the Department of Digital Economy Program.

The sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and released on the same day of issuance further stated that the new body will be led by a Director General with support from some deputies, while each department will be directed by a director with the support of department deputies and bureau functioning will be set by a proclamation to be issued by Pornmoniroth.

MEF spokesman Meas Soksensan told Khmer Times yesterday that the creation of the new general department has been wisely calculated because of its importance that is indispensable for improving economy and good governance and to ensure the best functioning of the institution that will be located in the premise of the ministry.

“To participate in the preparation and implementation of policies, strategies, plans, projects, programs, action plans, laws and other regulations related to the digital economy,” the sub-decree pointed out in Article 2 of its Chapter 2 about the mission, roles, duties and organisational structure of the new institution—General Department of Digital Economy.

The General Department of Digital Economy will also prepare and implement guidelines or technical standards to support the development of the digital economy in addition to conducting research, analysis, tracking and assessment of the evolvement and trends of the digital economy in the regional and global context, according to the five-page sub-decree.

The sub-decree with an appendix as the new body’s structure stated further that this institution is also tasked to direct, regulate and develop the infrastructures, fundamental digital platforms and platforms of the digital economy that will support the development of the digital economy in addition to promoting education, training and dissemination of digital economy with reports.

“To participate in the preparation of contracts and/or agreements on digital economy in the national, regional and global contexts, to participate in drafting the annual budget laws, revised budget law and budget payment law, to build partnership and collaboration… local and international organisations as well as the development partners,” the sub-decree pointed out.

The Department of General Affairs will function on administration, finance, personnel, human resource, state properties, training and dissemination, while the Department of Digital Economy’s Infrastructure will regulate and develop the structure of the digital economy and the Department of Digital Economy Program will regulate and develop products, services, projects and programs of the digital economy.

Last year, at a workshop held in the capital officials from associations that include the Japanese Business Association in Cambodia (JBAC), Japanese investors and businesspeople have urged the government to expedite the development of the digital economy as the formalities in government agencies are slowly moving due to exercising analogue, while the banking and financial sectors have developed fast, probably faster than Japan.