The Fiscal Analysis Capacity Training (FACT) program was established in 2016 at the request of the Cambodian Senate to train a team of parliamentary staff to perform the role of a parliamentary budget office. On 27 January 2020, a ceremony was held to mark the completion of this program, to acknowledge the achievement of the 10 trainees and to hand over the training materials to the Parliament.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Dararith Kim-Yeat, the Executive Director of PIC, explained how the FACT program had exemplified PIC’s aims to act in response to requests from Parliament, to act impartially and to focus on technical capacity development and the promotion of knowledge sharing. It was his sincere hope that Parliamentarians would make good use of the technical skills the trainees had developed during their PIC internship to enhance parliamentary performance.

As one of the initiators of the FACT program, H.E. Mr. Chea Cheth, the Chair of the Senate Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Auditing, then followed, stressing the importance of impartial analysis of the national budget: Parliament had a crucial role in ensuring that the revenue collected was properly used, he said, and that it was equitably distributed to meet national priorities, and to improve the living standards and social welfare of Cambodian citizens.

Continuing his theme, H.E. Mr. Chea Cheth added that, to be effective in overseeing the national budget, Parliament needed to be engaged at all stages of the budget cycle. Parliamentarians needed an in-depth understanding of all aspects, he said, including taxes as well as micro- and macro-economics – and they needed technical support from parliamentary staff to support them in this essential task. For this reason, he appreciated the achievement of the trainees who had already been providing relevant research support on the national and sub-national budget to both the Senate and the National Assembly.

The details and objectives of the FACT program were outlined by Mr. Scott Cameron, the Training Program Manager, and the trainees themselves presented the results of some of their research and analysis, later receiving their certificates.

In formally accepting the training materials from Mr Dararith Kim-Yeat, on behalf of both General Secretariats, H.E. Mr. Oum Sarith, the Secretary General of the Senate, expressed appreciation to PIC for the contribution the Institute had been making to the capacity development of parliamentary staff through the delivery of many programs of skills training, all provided in response to parliamentary requests. Although great progress had been made in this, and other training initiatives, he added, it was recognized that on-going mentoring support was helpful in consolidating the skills gained and he was grateful that such support was being made available to enhance performance and quality control.

More than 90 participants, including Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and representatives from PIC, attended the hand-over event. The FACT program was implemented from July 2016 to the end of December 2019, with funding from the EU and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) under the Partnership for Accountability and Transparency Program (PAT).