The value of construction approvals granted by the government increased 43 per cent in the first two months of the year, compared to the same period in 201, figures show.
Some 315 potential projects, worth US$281 million, were given the go-ahead in the period, compared with 340 construction projects, worth $197 million, approved last year, according to Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction figures obtained this week.
The ministry’s Construction Department Director Lao Tip Seiha said that the growth was, in part, due to an increase in the construction of coal-power plants, oil refineries and satellite cities.
“We have indeed seen a sharp increase in construction investment, which provides job opportunities, for skilled and unskilled labour, and helps alleviate poverty,” he said, adding that it also boosts the state’s income.
Growth in the sector has also led to increased demand for domestic and imported construction materials, he said.
“Manufacturers are happy because the number of orders has grown, compared to last year, when the market was still unstable.”
Chhim Mao Charo, a Phnom Penh-based construction business owner, said that while projects in the city had increased, sales at the company had only increased by 20 per cent.
“As long as demand for housing continues to increase, the sector has nothing to worry about,” she said, adding that while the Kingdom is capable of producing materials, such as bricks and cement, it still relied on the regional import of products, such as steel.
The current price for cement varies from $92 to $102 per tonne, while steel is worth between $580 and $790. A total of 10,000 bricks sells for $550, according to Chhim Mao Charo.
Construction material imports in the first two months amounted to 138,348 tonnes, worth $69 million, ministry figures show.