Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Business leaders want reduction in hidden costs, fees

Business leaders want reduction in hidden costs, fees

Business leaders want reduction in hidden costs, fees

Senior business leaders called for substantial cuts in transport costs and a greater

government effort to crack down on "hidden" charges at a meeting between

government, port officials and the heads of seven private sector working groups.

The ad hoc meeting on August 13 followed demands by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the

Private Sector Forum the previous week that costs, whether legal such as port fees,

or illegal, such as bribes, be curbed.

"This situation on the collection of high and illegal charges cannot be allowed

to continue," Hun Sen told the forum.

"I have taken a personal interest in this matter and have given strict instructions

to the heads of all the concerned authorities ... to take immediate action to wipe

out such illegal practices."

Despite such pledges, manufacturers at the August 13 meeting still expressed their

concerns over illegal charges and high transport costs. They quoted as one example

the proposed $18 toll to shift a single 40-foot container between Sihanoukville and

Phnom Penh.

One observer who attended the talks the following week said "the good news is

the government moved really quickly to set up the meeting". However, there were

no promises of reductions in tolls or in the high fees paid for X-ray scanning of

containers in ports, which was another complaint of industry.

"We still don't know how rates for charges are justified and there were no promises

to reduce them," the observer noted.

Business leaders at the Private Sector Forum said high costs were hurting Cambodia's

international competitiveness.

The chairman of the Garment Manufacturers' Association of Cambodia, Van Sou Ieng,

said factories paid $800 to bring a 40-foot container from Sihanoukville to Phnom

Penh, half of which was "hidden" costs. In Vietnam it cost around a quarter

that amount.

Sou Ieng, who also attended the second meeting, told the Post there was "a lot

of exchange of comments and ideas, but I'm personally not feeling so optimistic.

There were no concrete measures to encourage me to be positive."

He said another meeting should take place quickly because toll fees would be implemented

soon.

"I want to see a substantial adjustment in prices," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,