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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri agribusinesses receive warning on licences

Mondulkiri agribusinesses receive warning on licences

Firms must update information on their activities, govt says

AUTHORITIES from Mondulkiri province have told 52 companies it will consider withdrawing their agriculture concessions if they fail to update the provincial government on their activities by November 24.

Aissy Sokuntheary, the province’s deputy governor in charge of investment, said companies that had failed to develop concession land as expected would not automatically be deleted from the province’s investor list.

“Actually, we don’t want to delete those companies from the list, but we want to know how much land in the province has not been developed yet so that it is easier for us to collect tax and so that we can give the remaining land to other developers,” she said.

However, those that failed to comply with the summons for information would likely have their contracts torn up, said Mondulkiri provincial Governor Chan Yoeun.

“We understand that the economy is in bad condition at the moment, but they must not keep quiet like this,” he said.

According to figures from the Mondulkiri provincial hall, the government granted 260,000 hectares of concession land to the 52 companies to grow agricultural crops, such as rubber, coffee and tea.

The Post was not able to contact representatives of any of the concerned companies Tuesday, but local businessmen said the lack of activity was likely a result of the economic downturn.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said the government should give undeveloped concession land to poor families who do not have land for farming, not just in Mondulkiri province but nationwide.

“The government has given more than 2 million hectares of concession land to various companies, but only 7 percent of that land has been developed, while the remainder is left idle,” he said.

He said that some companies used the concession land provided by the government as collateral to borrow money from banks to invest in businesses in other countries.

“The government must tax undeveloped lands strictly, or else concession land owners will not bother to develop their land at all,” Son Chhay said.

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