Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry changes SME data

Ministry changes SME data

Employees at a small e-commerce business at work in 2016.
Employees at a small e-commerce business at work in 2016. Eliah Lillis

Ministry changes SME data

Readers of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft’s summarised annual report may have been shocked to find the number of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) operating in Cambodia was nearly four times larger than it was reported to be last year.

That’s because the ministry has changed the way it tracks SMEs, according to Laim Kim Leng, director-general of the SME department at the ministry. The policy, part of the government’s decentralisation push, was met with scepticism from a private-sector representative of SMEs, who said yesterday the changes failed to improve the situation for small businesses in the country.

“The data this year is more concrete than last year because of our decentralised policy to collect all the data from the sub-level, rather than base everything only on the data of the general department of SMEs,” Kim Leang said yesterday.

The changes were applied retroactively to previous years as well, and no mention of the methodological change or previous numbers is made in the new report.

For example, in the 2016 report, the ministry recorded a total of 39,141 local SMEs operating at the end of the 2016, but last year’s report claimed 152,332 SMEs were operating at that time.

Te Taingpor, head of the Federation of Association for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia, said yesterday that he had “no idea” how the ministry collected the new numbers and called on the government to release any documents it had as proof.

Kim Leng said the ministry did possess the documentation to prove the claims, but declined to provide it to a reporter yesterday, saying it was the “private information of the ministry”.

“We have enough documents to prove our work efficiently,” he said. “The private sector has the right to . . . believe it or not, it is their business.”

Taingpor, whose association has over 300 members and 25 offices across the country, has previously been critical of the ministry’s alleged lack of progress formalising the SME sector. He remained unimpressed yesterday, noting any reforms regarding decentralisation were not addressing the main problems facing SMEs.

“The challenges of SMEs are still the same,” he said yesterday. “There is unfair competition in the market, and the tax enforcements are not balanced, while free flow of imported products into the markets hurts smallholder SMES.”

The full annual report is scheduled to be released March 12.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the