In Cambodia, the activities of buying goods, construction work, repairs, and services and consultation work by government, government ministries and agencies should be done in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement 2012.1 Procedures for a particular method of public procurement are prescribed in the Sub-Decree on Public Procurement 2006. The public procurement rules aim to ensure that state expenses are effectively and efficiently managed and controlled by transparent, fair and time-saving processes.2
Public procurement can be carried out through various methods. They can be classified into:
- bids by international competition
- bids by domestic competition
- price consulting
- price surveys.3
All procurement should go through one of these four methods. Included in the criteria of each method are the minimum price of the bids, domestic resources (services and goods) involved and technical capacity.4
The price for each method of public procurement may vary between the national and sub-national administration. For example, while the price of bids for international competition at the level of ministries, the capital city, provinces and public institutions should be from 5 billion riels, the price of the bids for the same method is much lower at 2 billion riels for krong (city), srok (district) and khan (district) administrations.5 The law bans any breakdown of the bidding price aiming to avoid a relevant method of the public procurement, with conditions and penalties.6
All public procurement is organized by the Committee of Public Procurement at each relevant institution. These institutions include government ministries, national bodies, public enterprises, administrative institutions and sub-national administrations. However, the Ministry of Economy and Finance is the main institution that manages the public procurement process. Any act of public procurement is subjected to audits and inspections by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).7
Procurement implementing bodies in the different institutions should make information on bids available to the public.8 Since February 2011, information on bids by international competition and bids by domestic competition has been made available on MEF’s website.9 Announcements of bids under commune/sangkat projects can be found at the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD). These can also be found at other government ministries and other national bodies such as Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Public Work and Transport, and One Window Service websites.
Complaints of any irregularity in the bidding by bidding individuals and companies may also be taken before the Ministry of Economy and Finance for audit and inspection.10 In cases of dissatisfaction with MEF, complaints may be brought before the Anti-Corruption Unit or directly before the courts. Upon receiving a complaint, the chairman, deputy-chairman and officers of the unit may act as judiciary police by initiating an investigation into the case and submitting a report of the investigation to public prosecutors and the courts.11
Irregularities in the public procurement process are not uncommon with some government ministries and national bodies. Despite the fact that Cambodia has had a strict Law on Procurement, Law on Anti-Corruption and Criminal Code for a long time, it seems there has been no concrete action against malpractice. For example, three state-run bodies, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication’s general department of posts, Telecom Cambodia and Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, were accused of alleged malpractices in their procedures for procurement.12 Out of various reported irregularities, one involving the Ministry of Health caught the most media attention.13
Last updated 28 September 2015
- 1. Law on Public Procurement, promulgated by Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/0112/004 dated on January 14, 2012. Accessed on September 10, 2015. http://www.mef.gov.kh/old/procurement/documents/6-procurement_law_color_version.pdf
- 2. Ibid, article 1.
- 3. Sub-decree No. 105 on Public Procurement issued on October 18, 2006.
- 4. Law on Public Procurement (2012), article 4.
- 5. Proclamation No. 1866 on Definite Sums for Implementation of Procurement Methods issued on December 26, 2014.
- 6. Law on Public Procurement (2012), article 33.
- 7. Ibid, article 52.
- 8. Ibid, article 38.
- 9. Notification No. 002 on Information Announcement of Public Procurement on MEF Website issued on January 18, 2011, by Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
- 10. Ibid, article 63.
- 11. Law on Anti-Corruption (2010), article 22.
- 12. Sek Udom. “ACU Accuses Three State Bodies of Malpractice.” The Cambodia Daily, September 16, 2015. Accessed on September 16, 2015, https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/acu-accuses-three-state-bodies-of-malpractice-94339/
- 13. Daniel Pye. “Global Fund’s Probe Saw Little Cooperation.” The Phnom Penh Post, January 2, 2014. Accessed on September 16, 2015, http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/global-fund%E2%80%99s-probe-saw-little-cooperation. Kuch Naren. “ACU Urges Tighter Health Ministry Practice.” The Cambodia Daily, August 6, 2015. Accessed on September 14, 2015, https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/acu-urges-tighter-health-ministry-practices-90912/ .