Cambodia generated $1.520 billion in customs revenue in the first eight months of this year, equivalent to 64.2 per cent of the target set by the Law on Financial Management for 2021, despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

These figures were revealed on September 10 by General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) director-general Kun Nhem at a virtual press conference on import duties for vehicles.

These numbers coupled with a July 15 GDCE report imply that around $360 million in customs duties was collected in July-August, accounting for more than 15 per cent of this year’s nearly $2.4 billion goal.

Without providing concrete figures, Nhem commented that machinery and cars, motorcycles and other vehicles contributed a sizable chunk of the revenue, especially those that are imported for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and National Police.

He lauded the GDCE for it is role in collecting import and export duties and taxes to add to the national income.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng noted that customs revenue remains on a general uptrend, which he said reflects that the Kingdom’s imports and exports are still performing well despite Covid.

He argued that the revenue collection cannot be considered stagnant, but rather has remained buoyant, supported by continually rising imports on the back of demand for construction materials and services across various sectors.

He pointed out that Phnom Penh is near the top of list for coronavirus inoculation rates, with virtually all segments of target populations fully-vaccinated and booster vaccination campaigns underway.

The rapid progress on jab drives will undoubtedly improve the Kingdom’s investment prospects, as the perceived risk of coronavirus infection falls, he said, adding that the free trade agreement with China will also reel in a host of international firms.

Last year, the GDCE collected $2.4196 billion in revenue, down $795.5 million or 24.8 per cent compared to 2019. This was equivalent to 83.5 per cent of the 2020 plan.