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

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading