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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt to resume industrial surveys

Govt to resume industrial surveys

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After suspending national business surveys in 2004, the government has secured funding to assess the size and number of all businesses operating in the Kingdom

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

The Ministry of Land Management is spearheading the effort to compile data on all companies in Cambodia.

THE Ministry of Land  Management, Urban Planning and Construction announced Thursday it will resume its national business survey in 2009 after funding shortfalls stalled the program in 2004.

National and provincial officials will perform the survey from February to March next year by gathering basic data on the size, scope, location and ownership of all companies in Cambodia, a ministry official said.

"The industrial listing is very important for our economic growth. We need to have accurate information about existing and new industries that are essential to attracting greater direct foreign investment," San Sy Than, director general of the ministry's National Institute of Statistics, told the Post on Thursday.

With survey costs estimated to top US$300,000, the ministry has obtained commitments from the Japanese government and its development partner, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to provide the bulk of the funding, he said, adding that he hoped the Cambodian government would contribute up to 10 percent of the total cost.

The survey is expected to include the name, address, ownership, number and gender of employees, as well as contact details, San Sy Than said.

Economic census

The survey will lay the groundwork for a broader economic census scheduled for 2011 that government officials say will boost foreign direct investment by providing accurate information to prospective investors.

"We can consider that the 2009 [industrial] listing is the preparatory phase of the forthcoming 2011 Economic Census," San Sy Than was quoted as saying in an unofficial transcript from a meeting of government officials and donor representatives at the ministry on Thursday.

Im Saroeun, a secretary of state with the ministry, said next year's survey and the economic census would give the government a better idea of Cambodia's economic growth and the impact of global market fluctuations.

"Reliable statistics are vital because we always get different figures from NGOs and organisations such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank," he said at the ministry meeting Thursday.

Fumikihiko Nishi, chief statistics adviser with JICA, said Cambodia's industrial census would likely face different challenges from population-based censuses.

"I do believe that Cambodia's small, medium and big enterprises will cooperate with us in order to achieve our strategic plan," he said.

"We want to identify exact numbers of local and foreign-owned enterprises," he said. "Presently, accurate industrial statistics are the most significant factor, and I hope the new ... census will play an important role in attracting more foreign direct investment to Cambodia."

Cambodia began conducting annual surveys in 1993 but discontinued them in 2004 because of a lack of funding, San Sy Than said.

"Although we have not done the listing for several years, our postponement of it has not impacted tax revenues because relevant ministries use their own statistics," he said, adding that from 2009, the government will conduct the surveys every year.

He added, however, that next year's survey would be used only to catalogue all businesses in Cambodia and not as the basis for assessing taxes.

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