THE government collected 14.5 percent more service fees from international trade in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to new government figures obtained Thursday.
Total service fees from goods inspections increased from 27 billion riels (US$6.58 million) in 2007 to over 30.9 billion riels ($7.54 million) in 2008, which was 40.5 percent more than the 22 billion riels projected by the Ministry of Commerce.
But with the financial downturn, both imports and exports are declining, and authorities say revenues from service fees may drop in 2009.
Most of the revenues in 2008 were generated from the top five branches of Cambodia's Control of Import-Export and Fraud Repression (Camcontrol). Chong Ty dry port brought in 12.4 billion riels in duties, with Sihanoukville port collecting 10.5 billion riels. Phnom Penh International Airport took 2.28 billion riels, Banteay Meanchey 1.43 billion riels and Phnom Penh International Port 1.17 billion riels.
Camcontrol Deputy Director General Khlauk Chuon said the increase in revenue reflected robust trade in 2008, coupled with more efficient revenue collection. He said that authorities were working to promote agricultural exports by charging a flat rate of 25,000-30,000 riels (US$6.10 to $7.30) per consignment, in contrast to other sorts of goods, which are charged a levy totalling 0.1 percent of their total value.
"We are now modernising both our technical support and efficiency to encourage trade and improve inspections," he said. "We are strengthening our inspection activities to improve the efficiency of our management and improve the collection of service fees."
In 2008, Cambodian exports totalled $3.35 billion, against imports of $4.42 billion. Total trade was up 11.8 percent to $7.77 billion from $6.85 billion in 2007. The main portals for trade are Chong Ty's dry port and Sihanoukville port, which account for $2.968 billion and $2.513 billion in trade respectively.