Prime Minister has congratulated General Department of Taxation (GDT) chief Kong Vibol on a job well done after the agency last year collected revenues equivalent to 122.54 per cent of the target set by the annual financial management law, in the “highest surplus of all time”.

In an early-January speech, the premier had disclosed that the GDT collected $3.455 billion in 2022, compared to the $2.81955 billion target for the year, which was raised by 26.68 per cent to $3.57170 billion for 2023.

For reference, the GDT reported its 2021 revenues at $2.78192 billion, which was down by 3.7 per cent from 2020, but still surpassed its annual target by 24.02 per cent.

In a letter addressed to Vibol dated January 2 and released to the public on February 1, Hun Sen hailed the GDT’s 2022 revenue figure as a “milestone being achieved for Cambodia and its people during such difficult times”.

He attributed the current hardships to “the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the global geo-political tension, the Russian-Ukraine war along with the imposition of tough foreign policies by a number of world leading countries and last, but not least, the domino effect of the uncontrollable rising of inflation rate”.

“I am incredibly pleased with this outstanding result which is proudly a remarkable way to mark the end of 2022 for our nation.

“This is an exceptionally historic accomplishment of tax revenue collection by GDT – to exceed the target plan, reaching the highest surplus of all time accounting for 22.54 per cent, which is equivalent to 2.57407 trillion riel, approximately 635.57 million US dollars.

“This great accomplishment has played a very vital role in supporting the national economic development and the livelihood of our Cambodian people during an unprecedented global economic crisis and uncertainties,” Hun Sen said.

Vibol recently told The Post that the incorporation of emerging digital technologies and innovations into the taxation system has driven efficiency in collection and made things more convenient for taxpayers, especially in the Covid-19 era.

The GDT will make further reforms and upgrade the technology used in tax processes to ensure that the 2023 revenue target is met, he affirmed.

However, he conceded that progress could be hindered by domestic, regional and global economic headwinds associated with lingering Covid-19-related disruptions and the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

Vibol elaborated that the turmoil in Ukraine has fuelled inflation and sharply pushed up energy prices across the globe, leading to a slowdown in economic growth and eating into European purchasing power, which he said will likely sap demand for Cambodian goods and deliver a significant blow to the local economy.

He vowed to personally work hard to reform human resource management, modernise applicable technologies, and promote tax culture, transparency and especially good governance. “We will make every effort to achieve the plans set by the government.

“We are carrying out this modernisation to improve taxpayers’ voluntary compliance, making paying taxes more transparent and instilling confidence that the money actually makes it into state coffers,” he said.

The GDT will continue to make its reforms more sweeping, and stick to its modernisation plans to better manage the collection of an increasing amount of taxes, provide improved services, and encourage proper tax registration, Vibol stressed.

“We’ll keep pressing ahead with our reforms, build a more positive taxpaying culture among those who may have never known the law, and further reinforce the knowledge and capacities of officials,” he added.