PRIME Minister Hun Sen initiated a raft of measures aimed at improving Cambodia’s private sector during a hard-hitting speech on Tuesday.
Around 500 officials and leading members of the Kingdom’s business community gathered at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) for the 15th Government-Private Sector Forum, presided over by the premier. The morning marked the first time since 2008 that the forum, which has the same decision-making power as the Council of Ministers, has met.
Hun Sen used the session to respond to suggestions made by private-sector forums – which regularly discuss issues facing businesses in agriculture, tourism, tax and governance, transport and energy and exports, among other topics.
Policy decisions he recommended included rice export reforms, a crackdown on illegal roadblocks and a simplification of business licencing.
He set deadlines for the production of key government reports, and criticised the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank for producing conflicting 2010 GDP projections, which have ranged from 4.5 percent to 4.8 percent growth.
Hun Sen instead called for a “harmonisation” of projections, adding that he believes the economy will grow by 5 percent this year after what he said was slight positive change in 2009, as opposed to the contractions estimated by international financial institutions.
Hun Sen also highlighted the role that he would like agriculture to play in the Kingdom’s economy, calling rice Cambodia’s “white gold”.