Cambodia generated 98.460 billion riel ($24.21 million) in non-tax revenue from the mining sector in the first nine months of this year, up by 27.06 per cent year-on-year from 77.48924 billion, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
This is equivalent to 96.15 per cent of the 102.400 billion riel target set in the 2021 budget law.
“Non-tax revenue” refers to recurring income obtained by the ministry through sources other than taxes such as licensing fees, land leases, royalties and penalties, according to Yos Monirath, the ministry’s former director-general for Mineral Resources.
His successor, Ung Dipola, told The Post on November 29 that the reopening of almost all sectors, following the success of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign, has yielded positive effects on economic recovery.
Citing initial assessments, Dipola said the department expects non-tax revenue from the mining sector to exceed the 2021 target by 20-25 per cent by the end of the year.
The ministry predicts that these revenues will continue to grow each year, buoyed by demand for minerals and materials for construction, he said, adding that existing gold production operations are expected to reach full capacity next year and that coal exports are also forecast to expand.
According to Dipola, the ministry plans to collect 140.772 billion riel in non-tax revenue from the sector next year, an increase of 37.47 per cent from this year’s target.
While this amount pales in comparison to the different sources of tax revenue, the economic benefits from mining operations are substantial, above all from the supply of raw materials, which considerably fuels the development of public infrastructure and construction projects, he noted.
Mining also has a hand in the development of local communities, he said.
Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, Royal Academy of Cambodia, attributed the steady rise in state revenues from mining to political stability and increased investment in the sector.
However, he suggested that mining would likely never become a primary source of national income, unlike in some countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
“Although revenue collection from this sector has increased, it is still low compared to others,” Vanak said.
In 2020, Cambodia raked in more than $21 million in non-tax revenue from the mining sector, “a slight increase” compared to 2019, according to the ministry.