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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Revenues from taxes up 12pc in December

Revenues from taxes up 12pc in December

IMPORT and export tax revenues increased by an annualised 12 percent last month, according to figures released Monday by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

December 2009 saw tax revenues of US$53.5 million, a 12 percent or $5 million increase on the same month in 2008.

A Monday press release said customs and excise revenues totalled $597.5 million in 2009. Last year, the director general of GDCE told the Post that the Kingdom had collected more than $500 million.

GDCE added that fines, earned from crackdowns on illegal goods, had doubled to $5.5 million in the past year.

But Yim Sovann, a parliamentarian for the Sam Rainy Party, said the revenues were very low compared to the Kingdom’s GDP, which was more than $10 billion in 2008. He said that in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, customs and excise revenues were more than 20 percent of GDP.

“If there was no rampant corruption, no offers of goods as bribes for corrupt officials, no powerful officials using power to intervene in the importation or exportation of goods, then customs and excise revenues would be at least 20 percent [about $2 billion] of Cambodia’s GDP,” Yim Sovann said.

Pen Simon, GDCE’s director general, did not reply to repeated calls Tuesday. His deputy Kum Nhem declined to comment.

The government has stated in recent years that it plans to more strictly enforce tax regulations in a bid raise state revenues.

According to the data, customs and excise revenues declined 22 percent to $280 million in the first half of 2009, due to a downturn in vehicle imports and construction materials.

This trend reversed from July to December.

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