The Ministry of Commerce is seeking support from Singapore in economic cooperation in the digital space and retail sales in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), as data traffic soars during the Covid-19 crisis.
Ministry secretary of state Sok Sopheak on January 21 met Singaporean Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry Alvin Tan to discuss potential areas and new avenues for economic cooperation.
Sopheak told his counterpart that internet users in Cambodia have jumped to about 12 million, and that two-thirds of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) employ digital tools in their operations.
And as growth progressed at a remarkable pace, the government established a number of regulations and mechanisms to install safeguards and support the enhancement of a sustainable digital economy and society, he said.
He listed some key legal instruments as the laws on competition, consumer protection, guaranteed payments and e-commerce; the e-commerce strategy; and Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework of Cambodia 2021-2035.
“Cambodia has experienced, in particular, a lack of physical infrastructure to support the digital economy, a scarcity of human resources, and a limited level of necessary regulations, which need the support of partners, including those from Singapore,” Sopheak said.
Tan said Cambodia’s adjustment to the digital age has been quicker compared to other regional countries, and added that Singapore would send experts to provide digital technical expertise to SMEs in the Kingdom.
“Cambodia should consider supporting a joint study on developing a common business identity for the ASEAN region, to ensure consistency in business information storage across the region, and support the interoperability of digital business,” he said.
Tan voiced support for the Kingdom’s proposals to establish digital frameworks for additional markets, especially e-marketplaces, aimed at strengthening e-commerce in and between the two countries.
He also asked Cambodia to more effectively publicise the benefits offered under the new investment law to Singaporean investors and local businesspeople.
Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia president Te Taingpor told The Post that Cambodian SMEs have taken very limited advantage of the benefits that digital technologies offer, underlining the importance of training assistance from developed countries like Singapore.
He emphasised: “The use of digital technology is very important in the context of Covid-19, which obliges the association to keep running training courses for free, but even then, the number of participants is still limited, SME owners should take more time to learn these skills to keep up with the modern world.”