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Discrepancy among ministries over garment data

A worker irons clothing at a factory in Phnom Penh in June 2013.
A worker irons clothing at a factory in Phnom Penh in June 2013. Pha Lina

Discrepancy among ministries over garment data

Annual reports from two ministries released on Monday appear to show significantly different numbers of factories, enterprises and garment factory workers in Cambodia last year, and officials at the two ministries contacted yesterday did not explain the contradictory data.

The annual report from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) released on Monday reported a total of 1,147 garment “enterprises and institutes” operating in the country last year.

That appears to clash with data from the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts (MIH), which released a report on the same day claiming a total of 1,031 garment “factories”.

MoL spokesman Heng Sour did not respond to a message asking what the difference between a “factory” and an “enterprise and institute” was, or how the MoL was defining “enterprise and institute”.

The MoL report also says the total number of “enterprises and institutes” operating in the country last year was 11,397. That stands in contrast to the MIH’s report regarding both the total number of “factories”, which was reported as 1,522, as well as the total number of “small- and medium-sized enterprises”, which was 155,640.

The number of garment factory workers was also different in the two reports. The Labour Ministry’s report said there were 763,820 workers at garment “enterprises and institutes” last year, while MIH reported there were 847,419 workers at garment “factories” – a difference of more than 80,000 workers.

Hort Pheng, the director of the Industry Affairs Department at MIH, said he did not know why the data or terminology was different and insisted his ministry’s report was the accurate one.

“Our data is the key number, and the only data that is submitted to the Council of Ministers,” Pheng said. “I have no idea where the Ministry of Labour’s records are from.”

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