Several companies have applied for construction investment projects in coastal Preah Sihanouk province as part of the government’s special incentive programme for 2024, which are currently being reviewed by the Investment Promotion Team and are expected to break ground in the near future.

Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche told The Post on February 26 that following Prime Minister Hun Manet’s announcement in late January, there has been a notable increase in investor interest in the province. 

He said that some firms have submitted applications, while many others are in the process of preparing their submissions to secure special investment rights.

“So far, our team has received around five applications, two of which have been thoroughly reviewed, discussed and assessed by our team. The applications have been granted incentive packages addressing both fiscal and non-fiscal concerns, in response to the private sector’s eagerness to commence investment activities in Preah Sihanouk,” Dimanche added.

He noted that the early 2024 situation in construction and real estate in the province has shown improvement compared to the start of 2023, though it has not reached the levels seen before 2019. 

“The construction, renovation and reorganisation of various buildings and sites for business and other investments in Preah Sihanouk are showing positive signs of recovery, although gradual,” he said.

According to Dimanche, there are currently numerous large structures in the province, with over 360 unfinished and approximately 160-170 completed but not yet operational. He expressed optimism that investment and construction activities in 2024 would surpass those of 2023.

“On behalf of the provincial authorities, we are highly optimistic that this special programme will significantly boost the confidence of both local and foreign investors to consider investing in Preah Sihanouk in 2024, benefiting from special exemptions. These exemptions, encompassing both tax and non-tax aspects, are immensely helpful,” he stated.

Im Seng Hour, branch manager of Century 21 Zillion Holding in Sihanoukville, the provincial capital, noted a gradual resurgence of foreign investors, particularly from Indonesia and China. 

He said the influx has stimulated the recommencement of long-stalled construction projects. However, he noted that the buying and selling market remains relatively inactive.

“Recently, I have noticed that the abandoned buildings of the past two to three years [amid the pandemic] are being reconstructed, driven by a growing demand for rental spaces. The uptick in activity is particularly notable among Indonesian and Chinese investors, who are seeking premises both for accommodation and business purposes,” he explained.

In January, Manet announced the “Special Programme to Promote Investment in Preah Sihanouk Province for 2024”, aimed at enhancing business activities and investment to transform the coastal province – tipped to be the Kingdom’s model multi-purpose Special Economic Zone – into a hub with significant economic potential across diverse sectors.

Manet explained that the initiative focuses on four key areas: transforming Preah Sihanouk into an industry, tourism and investment-centric province; addressing challenges with effective, immediate solutions; implementing practical measures in line with the government’s policies and strategies; and accelerating digital and industrial development to enhance the province’s value and competitiveness.

The prime minister outlined that the programme targets three investment categories: initiating projects related to unfinished buildings, starting new projects unrelated to these buildings and expanding existing projects or business activities, all set to commence in 2024.