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Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

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A view of central Phnom Penh on Tuesday showing numerous high-rise buildings. Investment in the construction sector increased 78 per cent this year compared to last year, with $9.3 billion invested nationwide. Hean Rangsey

Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara.

Speaking at the opening of the 8th Cambodia Constructors Association (CCA) Summit and Cambodia International Construction Industry Expo 2019 at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Sophara said the construction sector has grown enormously in recent decades.

“In the past, a five- or six-storey building was considered tall, but now the country has a 55-storey tower.

“Economic growth and an attractive investment environment are the main reasons behind the ongoing construction boom. Capital investment, which has grown almost 80 per cent this year, is largely due to the contribution of Chinese investors in Preah Sihanouk province.

“Capital investment in the construction sector this year amounts to $9.3 billion nationwide, a sharp increase of 78 per cent on last year,” he said.

However, he noted that there was still room for improvement.

“We should all join hands to contribute in supporting the government’s policies to make our country proud and stable, and a nation widely regarded as a place for investment from all over the world, not just China. We accept investment from everywhere in the world,” Sophara said.

The construction sector had contributed significantly to the creation of new job opportunities and had helped curb the flow of Cambodian workers to foreign countries, he added.

CCA president Pung Kheav Se said construction was playing a key role in Cambodia’s economic growth but called on companies to respect the law.

“The growth of the construction sector has led to more international companies either investing directly or looking for partners here.

“But on behalf of the Cambodia Constructors Association, I would also like to call on all builders in Cambodia to properly abide by the Construction Law.

“All suppliers of construction materials should import only quality equipment and materials, and advanced technology should be used to ensure the quality and safety of construction projects,” he said.

Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association president Chrek Soknim said the strong growth in capital investment this year has benefited stakeholders, including real estate insiders, construction companies, manufacturers and importers, adding that this trend is likely to continue for many years.

“I’m still optimistic about the construction and real estate sectors in Cambodia,” he said.

According to Soknim, property prices nationwide have increased by an average of 15 per cent this year compared to last year.

Sout Sovath, head of sales and marketing in Cambodia at PEB Steel Buildings Co Ltd, which supplies steel construction materials imported from Vietnam, said the company’s sales had almost tripled this year compared with last year.

“PEB Steel Buildings has supplied almost 6,000 tonnes to the Cambodian market this year,” he said.

According to data from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, there were 1,081 registered companies working on construction projects in Cambodia as of November.

Four hundred and eighty-five of these were foreign, from countries such as China, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, France, the UK and the US.

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