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Businesses up, reveals survey

Factory workers conduct quality control checks on food products in Phnom Penh
Factory workers conduct quality control checks on food products in Phnom Penh last year at a medium-sized enterprise. Vireak Mai

Businesses up, reveals survey

Cambodia increased the number of business enterprises it had to 513,759 companies at the end of March last year, up from the 463,363 enterprises accounted for in 2011, according to the final results of the 2014 Cambodia Inter-Censal Economic Survey.

The 2014 report was released by Chhay Than, minister at the Ministry of Planning, who said the number of self-employed or single employee enterprises decreased 13 per cent in 2014 compared to 2011, the last time the survey was completed. However, the number of enterprise that employed two or three people increased 28 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

“The data will serve as a major statistical base for investors to see, consider, and make easier decisions as to which sectors they should invest in,” Than said.

An important metric is the number of businesses employing 100 or more employees, which saw a 14 per cent increase from 2011, said Than. “This shows that enterprise owners that participate in the economic sector have gradually shifted investments in the agricultural sector to the trading, industry, and service sector.”

The Cambodian government is in the process of preparing a policy aimed at strengthening the Kingdom’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and data from the CIES 2014 would be used for by policy makers to that effect, according to Than.

The CIES data would also be handy for formulating central and local government policies, and can be used by research institutes for crafting management strategy and market research in the private sector.

“Maybe during the first half of next year [2015], the policy will be ready for implementation,” said Cham Prasidh, minister at the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, last December, adding that a comprehensive SME policy would boost industry competitiveness.

Phnom Penh led the survey with 97,000 enterprises, or 19 per cent of the total number. Kampong Cham followed with 54,231 enterprises, Kandal with 38,679, and Siem Reap and Takeo had 37,622 and 32,780 companies respectively.

In Channy, group CEO of Acleda Bank, said the data was especially important for banking institutions as it helps them plan their fiscal strategies based on the growing number of enterprises in the country.

“It’s good that we have a specific figure of the number of enterprises,” he said. “When enterprises grow, the banking sector also grows and the economy, as whole, also develops.”

As of 2014, Acleda was lending to 366,000 businesses and plans to widen its net to 412,000 this year. Of the $2 billion in outstanding loans last year, SMEs accounted for $1.35 billion, or 67 per cent of the total loans. The bank plans to increase its lending to SMEs to $1.76 billion, up 32 per cent from 2014.

The CIES 2014 Survey was conducted across 550 villages nationwide. The total budget was $300,000, of which $190,000 was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, $32,564 directly from the Japanese government, with the remainder paid for by the Cambodian government.

“This data helps us to understand clearly the structure of the Cambodian economy,” said Yamuchi Akihito, director of Japan’s Statistical Information Institute for Consulting and Analysis, which was involved in preparing the report.

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