A working session of the National Assembly of Cambodia. (Source: thecambodiaherald.com)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – The National Assembly of Cambodia passed a state budget of 4.6 billion USD for 2016, in which funds for education, healthcare, and defence will be increased.

Sixty-six lawmakers from the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) approved the draft budget bill for 2016 after a half-day debate despite a boycott from all the opposition’s lawmakers.

The National Assembly comprises 123 lawmakers – 68 from the CPP and 55 from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). The approval only needed a 50 percent plus one majority vote, or at least 63 votes.

During the session, Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth said the government spending for 2016 accounts for 21.31 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent.

The implementation of the newly-adopted Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 will use the approved 2016 fiscal budget.

The 2016 fiscal budget aims to ensure an economic growth of 7 percent, focusing mainly on infrastructure investment, human resources, economic development, national defence and healthcare.

Some 1.43 billion USD will be spent on public projects such as roads, bridges, ports, railways and irrigation systems, among others.

Education will be provided with 500 million USD, up 28 percent compared to 2015 while the budget for defence will rise by 17 percent to 383 million USD.

The health sector will receive 274 million USD, up 8.6 percent.

The bill also allows the government to borrow up to 961 million USD from other countries and development partners.-VNA