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City to review Cintri contract

A child cycles past a mound of trash in Phnom Penh
A child cycles past a mound of trash in Phnom Penh last year after Cintri workers went on strike, calling for an increased minimum wage. Pha Lina

City to review Cintri contract

The controversial contract with waste collection firm Cintri will be reviewed by the government after the company has repeatedly failed to improve its performance, officials said yesterday.

Tekreth Samrach, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, signed a letter on Tuesday indicating that the review was ordered after Cintri failed to show over the past year it had the capacity to expand its services.

“The government has agreed that Cintri does not have enough capacity to expand its operations to collect and transport solid waste in Phnom Penh to meet demand,” the letter reads.

“Lawyers for the government, the Ministry of Environment and City Hall have been assigned duties to review the contract . . . as well as to give other companies a chance to participate in offering services in all districts.”

Cintri signed its contract to collect the capital’s household waste in 2002. The agreement has never been made public.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Environment, and state power company Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) have been tasked with determining how fees for waste collection can be collected in the future. Those fees are currently included in EdC bills.

Responsibility for some waste collection services, the statement added, will be transferred to city districts. The Ministry of Environment has also been asked to find investors in new infrastructure and a waste refinery to cut down on the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill.

Seng Sorida, a Cintri spokeswoman, said she had not seen the government’s statement so could not comment.

Ieng Aunny, deputy Phnom Penh governor in charge of waste management, said that the decision was unsurprising as Cintri has not performed to expectation.

“We are now looking into the effectiveness of their work. We have wanted them to improve their collection operations, but they have not,” he said.

“Waste collection in Phnom Penh is a sensitive issue. There have always been problems and we don’t want problems to happen anymore. We have to deal with it.”

Jon Morales, program manager for the Asia Foundation’s urban services department, said the city had “been pretty vocal about its opinion of Cintri’s performance over the past year”.

“It could be a positive step, depending on how the results of the review turn out afterwards.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE

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