THE value of investment projects approved by the Cambodian government fell sharply in April after experiencing a remarkable increase in March, Cambodian Center for Development (CDC) data show.
According to CDC statistics released Wednesday, the value of investment projects approved last month was down 76.51 percent compared to April last year, to US$60.75 million from $258.68 million. In March, $691.5 million in investments were approved – a 53 percent rise over last year.
Despite the drop, Asian Development Bank's Senior Country Economist Eric Sidgwick said that “investments in a small economy like Cambodia are lumpy, and figures for one month do not necessarily entail any change in the underlying trend”.
This year's investment capital will be better than that of last year.
An official from the CDC said Wednesday that the amount of approved investment fell due to less capital inflow in sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
Duy Thov, deputy secretary general of the CDC, said that since the global financial crisis, investment in Cambodia has been alternately up and down, and that the fluctuation is not a negative sign.
“I think that the decline in April is just temporary, because many businessmen have recovered from the world economic crisis and are now beginning to be interested in investing in Cambodia,” he said.
Nguon Meng Tech, director of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said that Cambodia has great potential, but that a lack of services is still an obstacle to attracting outside cash.
Some officials still demand under-the-table money from investors, he said, which makes many reluctant to come to Cambodia.
“I believe that investment in Cambodia will increase in a stable manner in the future if the government tries to improve its services and promote full law enforcement,” Nguon Meng Tech said.
In April, only six projects were approved.
One, worth $29.47 million, was approved for the agriculture sector. Another four projects were given the green light in the industry sector and were worth $17.28 million in total.
A further $14 million is set to be invested in the tourism sector.
Officials still have a positive outlook for the next year. Duy Thov said: “I believe that this year’s investment capital will be better than that of last year.”