Last year saw 7,860 new businesses register with the Ministry of Commerce, down 40.72 per cent from 13,259 in 2019.
At the same time, the ministry dissolved 500 businesses last year, marking a 187 per cent increase from 174 in 2019.
At the opening of the ministry’s annual review meeting on April 1, minister Pan Sorasak said his ministry is committed to diversifying the economy and negotiating bilateral and multilateral free trade zones with trading partners to draw in new investment.
He said the ministry will work towards strengthening the Kingdom’s intellectual property and consumer protection regimes, promoting public services and further facilitating conditions for doing business.
“The Ministry of Commerce has been striving to fortify the capacity and efficiency of officials to compete in the regional and global arenas by propping up human resources, structural reforms in governance and management, institutional development, as well as the development of laws and legal regulations related to trade,” he said.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, blamed the decline in registrations on the Covid-19 pandemic, pointing out that it had created a barrier to investment in the Kingdom.
“In the Covid-19 era, no one is willing to invest, because investing during this period would just be throwing money away. Buying and selling, as well as production also remain stagnant. People are taking a wait and see approach, holding on to their money to invest once the Covid-19 situation eases,” he said.
The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved 238 investment projects worth a total of $8.2 billion last year, down 12 per cent from 2019, according to a CDC press statement issued in February.
CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea said in the statement that the government is in the process of drafting new investment laws and other regulations related to investment that are aimed at increasing foreign direct investment (FDI).
“The new investment law will increase the attractiveness of investment as a basis for investors, business people to decide to invest and do business in Cambodia,” he said.