Cambodia Chamber of Commerce board member Mong Reththy asked for the construction of vocational training colleges in every province, a review of agricultural export procedures and better movement of goods and animal products across the country following the setting-up of scores of unofficial roadblocks.
In response, Hun Sen cancelled Green Trade’s monopoly on rice export permits, asked that a government report on rice trade facilitation be produced by the end of May, and demanded that officials from organisations such as the police review their members in a crackdown on illegal roadblocks.
THE GPSF: WHAT IS IT ?
THE Government-Pri-vate Sector Forum (GPSF) is a meeting place for Cambodia’s business community to voice issues of concern to the Royal Government of Cambodia. It is coordinated by the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) and was first launched a decade ago.
According to IFC literature, eight private-sector working groups meet regularly to discuss issues of the day. Members devote hundreds of hours a year into giving the government feedback on policy, prospective legislation and regulatory concerns.
The forums recently provided a place for companies to voice their worries about a now-defunct plan to create a central internet hub in Cambodia – a move that was opposed by many in the private sector who feared too much regulation.
Feedback on draft e-commerce legislation, a draft prakas on restaurant standards and a draft taxation law on financial leasing have all been recently discussed, according to a GPSF newsletter. The mining sub-working group is also asking the government to develop regulations to govern royalties.
GPSF meetings, such as Tuesday’s, where all parties attend, are scheduled twice a year and are attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
He also asked officials to press Cambodia Angkor Air to run flights to Bangkok and Sihanoukville, and use accommodation tax revenue to fund the new tourism Marketing and Promotion Board.
Instead, the premier recommended that private businesses provide US$100,000 to help fund the board, stating that tax revenue must be spread across sectors. Hun Sen emphasised that Cambodia is no longer a planned economy, and that airlines can set their own fares, he said.
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
A report by tycoon Te Taing Por asked the government to simplify business registration procedures and licence reviews, and to eliminate import tariffs and the value-added tax (VAT) on silk yarn.
Hun Sen asked the Minister of Energy, Mines and Industry to strengthen the laws to curb bureaucracy for SMEs, which he said played a vital role in the economic development of the country.
The government also set a six-month time frame to establish a one-stop registration service for businesses and agreed to scrap import tax on silk, while holding VAT for three years.
LAW, TAX AND GOVERNANCE
Chairman of the International Business Chamber Bretton Sciaroni highlighted the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications’s issue of overlapping radio frequency licences to the telecommunications sector. The premier complained that there is an overload of domestic internet service providers.
He also said that to avoid overlaps, the minister of posts and telecommunications had been given a letter emphasising the importance of assuring solid investment in the sector.
ENERGY, INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT
So Nguon, director of the Kingdom’s largest overland logistics firm, So Nguon Group, submitted a document asking for help in modernising the transport sector by encouraging companies to replace old lorries.
He also wanted to encourage non-registered companies to become members of the Cambodian Trucking Association (CAMTA).
Hun Sen asked all transport companies with 10 or more lorries to register with the organisation.
He also recommended that the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation simplify its overcomplicated registration procedure.