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Secretary of state hits out at silk scheme

Secretary of state hits out at silk scheme

A GOVERNMENT official has harshly criticised a prominent silk promotion project, implemented last year by the International Trade Center (ITC), saying it has not been fruitful.

Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, made his comments during a seminar on export diversification at the Export-Import and One Province, One Product exhibition yesterday.

According to Mao Thora, industry development has been weak despite funds being provided by international donors such as New Zealand, which gave over $1 million to the ITC to develop silkworks in Cambodia. “The ITC’s meeting, coffee drinking and cake eating spent $1 million per year. There is no travelling to meet people at all,” he said.

Mao Thora said that next year, another NGO will be handed the funds to oversee silk industry development projects for the next two years, as there is now a lack of confidence in the ITC.

Pheanuroth Sisowath, senior technical adviser to the ITC, said Mao Thora’s comments are uninformed, as the ITC does not work directly with him.

“He’s made these comments without knowing about our activities,” said Pheanuroth Sisowath.

According to him, the ITC, which was established by the World Trade Organisation, works without rules because they have the right management structure and are transparent.

Deputy secretary general of Khmer Silk Villages Ke Munny said yesterday that Khmer Silk Villages signed an agreement with the ITC to receive funds of over $200,000 to enhance the capacity of weavers in more than 40 silk production groups in Takeo, Kandal, Kampong Cham and Prey Veng provinces.

According to him, the money was not only spent on capacity building but also for marketing and participating in expos, and he plans to request funds for the programs again next year.

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