Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Industrial development plan to boost economy is ‘90%’ on track

Industrial development plan to boost economy is ‘90%’ on track

Guests inspect a model of the new Kerry Worldbridge Special Economic Zone at the groundbreaking ceremony in 2015 in Kandal.
Guests inspect a model of the new Kerry Worldbridge Special Economic Zone at the groundbreaking ceremony in 2015 in Kandal. Heng Chivoan

Industrial development plan to boost economy is ‘90%’ on track

An ambitous 10-year plan to boost the country’s industrial development is “90 percent” on track and has earned the approval of Prime Minister Hun Sen, government representatives said yesterday.

But some key planks of the plan – particularly its more concrete provisions – have been delayed, frustrating industry groups.

The 10-year Industrial Development Policy, introduced in 2015, includes long-term goals to rezone Phnom Penh into industrial and residential districts, prepare a national policy on employment and devise an effective mechanism for setting minimum wages in accordance with labour productivity and socioeconomic conditions.

It aims to ultimately diversify and elevate the country’s industries, which have been the primary driver of Cambodia’s recent economic growth but have relied heavily on low-wage garments manufacturing.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the main areas of progress so far included the development of the agriculture industry, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), expanded opportunities for vocational training, promotion of human resources, and further development of transportation logistics.

“Each minister reviewed all progress and achievements following . . . three years so far, because we have a passion to achieve these goals,” Siphan said. “After reviewing and evaluating [the progress], Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the achievements of each of the ministries.”

Hing Thoraxy, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, said the 10-year plan was largely on track.

“Following the meeting, [it was seen that] 90 percent of the goals have been achieved,” he said.

“However, the meeting also showed that [the creation of] new laws has been delayed, including a new Law on Special Economic Zones and an amended Law on Investment.”

Many of the short-term goals enumerated in the 10-year plan are defined in vague terms – including the “strengthening” and “improvement” of mechanisms already in place.

But the more concrete among the short-term goals, including establishing the laws on investment and special economic zones, have yet to come to fruition.

Te Taing Por, president of the Federation of Association for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of Cambodia, said the SME sector was hamstrung by the government’s failure to adopt specific SME regulations.

“SME policies have continuously been delayed, from 2015 until now, because the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft is slow to pass any policies,” he said, adding that this was not in keeping with the purported goals of the Industrial Development Policy.

Without laws that gave special recognition to SMEs, “we cannot apply for loans that will help us solve our challenges and better reach the domestic market or compete with the international market”, he said.

Policies to modernise SMEs and link them to multinationals was considered one of four primary pillars of the plan when it was launched in 2015.

According to a World Bank report released last month, Cambodia is nevertheless on its way to diversifying its industry into higher value production.

The manufacture of electronic and automotive parts is an expanding component of Cambodia’s exports, and the country “appears to be on the verge of climbing up the manufacturing value chains”, the World Bank economic update says.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.