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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Construction officials to get workplaces in $3m rollout

Construction officials to get workplaces in $3m rollout

091218_08
A worker breaks stone at a plant in Kampot to make construction materials. The government says its plan to build Construction Department offices across the country will boost investment.

Government plans hundreds of cadastral offices across nation

THE Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction has earmarked up to US$3 million to build 118 cadastral offices across the country to coordinate construction and urban-planning activities in towns and cities nationwide.

Lao Tip Seiha, director of the ministry’s Construction Department, said work has already begun in municipalities and districts across 15 provinces, but that all 23 provinces and the capital will be covered.

“We cannot say when or how many years it will take to complete all the projects,” he said. “We just know that some projects will be completed by 2010 and others later.”

Each building is expected to cost between $20,000 and $30,000, with the total budget to come in somewhere between $2 million and $3 million, Construction Department Director General Im Chamrong said.

The initiative is aimed at providing the department’s staff with the tools necessary to better service the construction sector, he added.

“We are building the cadastral offices in an attempt to facilitate growth in the construction sector to in turn boost Cambodia’s economy in the future,” he said.

The UN Development Programme heavily criticised the building regulator earlier this year in a report that said “highly bureaucratic” licensing was reducing the sector’s competitiveness.

The report said it takes 710 days to get all the construction permits required to complete a project in Cambodia, as opposed to 200 days in Vietnam and about 150 in Thailand. Each procedure takes 31 days to clear, compared with 15 days in Vietnam and Thailand and seven in Laos, the report said.

The report also highlighted poor project monitoring and said companies claimed they paid unofficial fees to shorten approval timescales.

Cambodian Priority Property Investment Co General Manager Kong Vansophy said the move would boost investment. “It will be easier for developers to get access to construction services and to obtain the necessary documents when selling, buying or exchanging land and property” he said.

Sok Sovandeith, president of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union of Cambodia, said he hopes the initiative will help the ministry approve construction applications more quickly and boost investment in the sector. “More projects will create more job opportunities for construction workers,” he said.

He added that he hopes better resources will make it easier for the ministry to monitor construction-sector wages and conditions.

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