Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $6bn in projects approved in 2011

$6bn in projects approved in 2011

$6bn in projects approved in 2011

Investment approved between January and October surpassed those last year by  US$160 million, according to a report from the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

The 126 local and foreign investment projects through October, worth about $6 billion, overshadowed the $5.8 billion in the whole of 2010.

Improvements in investment regulations, as well as the reduction of red tape, had contributed to the increased investment, analysts and private-sector representatives said.

Infrastructure and energy shortfalls, however, still hindered the country’s potential.

England was the largest investor this year – much to the surprise of the British business community – with a fertiliser project worth $2.2 billion. The project was based in the Cayman Islands and owned by Royal Group of Companies’ Kith Meng, the Post reported last month.

Cambodia approved 23 domestic projects worth $1.39 billion, as well as $1.16 billion in Chinese investment. Vietnam and Malaysia invested $246 million and $230 million respectively.

“We have observed that the government is very open to investors,” Cambodia Chamber of Commerce director-general Nguon Meng Tech said yesterday.

“Any foreign investors wishing to invest here can get 100 per cent ownership without partnering with local investors. Some other countries don’t offer this.”

Chheng Kimlong, an economics and business lecturer at the University of Cambodia, echoed Nguon Meng Tech’s view, pointing to an easing in customs clearance and paperwork fees.

But transparency and the region’s highest electricity costs still limited the Kingdom’s potential for attracting investors, he said.

“[The government] still has much work to do regarding access to reliable information . . . And our electricity tariff is still higher than Laos, Thailand and Vietnam,” Chheng Kimlong said.

Cambodia recently inaugurated a 193-megawatt hydropower dam in Kampot province and plans to complete several other power projects by 2016.

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