Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Budapest halves Soviet-era debt in bilateral agreement

Budapest halves Soviet-era debt in bilateral agreement

Budapest halves Soviet-era debt in bilateral agreement

090203_05.jpg
090203_05.jpg

Half of Cambodian debt to former-Soviet bloc country to be cancelled, half to be directed into local development projects.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap at the National Assembly on Monday.

THE Hungarian government has agreed to write off half of Cambodia's Soviet-era debt to the country, with the remaining half to be diverted to local development, officials in Phnom Penh said.

"Hungary will cancel 50 percent of the debts that Cambodia incurred under previous regimes, while the other 50 percent will be diverted to help develop Cambodia," Nguon Nhel, first deputy president of the National Assembly, confirmed Sunday.  

He said that the debt relief package was announced last week during a Cambodian parliamentary delegation visit to Budapest.

"There will be an upcoming meeting with Cambodia's government to consider which sectors are priorities for the diversion of the rest of the debt," he told the Post, but added that he "could not confirm" the exact amount owed.

You Phirom, deputy director of the Ministry of Finance's Department of Investment and Cooperation, said Sunday that he was unaware of Hungary's decision, but added that the amount was likely small.

"I do not remember specific figures, but it is not much - just around $1 million or $2 million," he said.

Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly's Special Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audits, said he was also unsure of the exact amount, adding that it was likely a small fraction of the US$3 billion debt the royal government owes abroad. He nevertheless welcomed the move: "We applaud the debt relief that Hungary has offered us, just as the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and China have done," he said.

In September, Russia also agreed to cancel around 70 percent of the $1.5 billion debt Cambodia has owed Moscow since the 1980s.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville to begin road project

    The government will spend $200 million to improve Sihanoukville’s infrastructure. The eight-month project will involve the rebuilding of 34 streets with a total of more than 84km. Pal Chandara, the secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post

  • Bodhisattva statue unearthed

    The Apsara National Authority technical team uncovered a sandstone statue of a Bodhisattva while carrying out excavation work at the east entrance of the Ta Nei temple on October 8. The team was trying to find the temple’s roof stone, which had fallen into a

  • Artefact is seized from American auctioneers

    Cambodian and US archaeologists on Thursday discussed the formalities and procedures of returning to Cambodia an artefact which was recently seized by US Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) from an auction house in San Francisco. On Monday, the HSI said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),

  • World Bank: Challenges facing the Kingdom

    Cambodia’s economy currently faces challenges including credit growth in the construction and real estate sectors, rising indebtedness and the possible withdrawal of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement, said the World Bank Group’s latest forecast report on the Asia-Pacific economies. The