Opposition blasts government claim of lower inflation rate
A Phnom Penh rice trader Sunday. The price of staples skyrocketed in
recent months, prompting the government to suspend the publication of
MINISTRY of Planning officials announced a
decrease in Cambodia's inflation rate to 22 percent in advance of
official Consumer Price Index numbers expected later this week.
The government suspended monthly CPI reports in early February in a
move widely seen as an effort to obscure spiralling consumer costs
ahead of the July national polls.
"The ministry has completed the Consumer Price Index and inflation was
at 22 percent in July and August," Minister of Planning Chhay Than told
the Post Sunday.
"These figures show that inflation has gone down compared to the same period last year," he said.
The minister said the drop was explained in part by falling petrol prices.
However, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay dismissed the government's inflation assessment.
"I think the ministry shouldn't release statistics for politically
motivated reasons. The election is over, so they should give us the
real numbers," he said.
He said the figure of 22 percent doesn't correspond to actual market
costs for goods, which he says have gone up no less than 30 percent
over the past six months.
The National Bank of Cambodia said last month that inflation for the first half of the year rose to 25.1 percent.
San Sithan, director general of the Ministry of Planning, told the Post
Sunday the government will adopt a new model for calculating the CPI
some time near the end of the year.
"It will be in place by the end of this year," he said, adding that there would be only minor differences between the two.
"We are seeing a decrease in inflation because petrol prices have
dropped, and that has driven down the price of other goods and
services," San Sithan said.
Inflation in January 2008 - the last month government data was available - stood at more than 18 percent.