Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Corruption 'aid barrier'



Corruption 'aid barrier'

Corruption 'aid barrier'

Dear Editor,

During the four years since our previous visit to Cambodia there have been many changes

for the better in this beautiful country.

The economy shows some hopeful signs of revival as the shadows of the Khmer Rouge

past are erased.

In addition, we were encouraged by the Phnom Penh Post report in April regarding

efforts being made by parliament to reduce corruption in government-associated activities.

Continued reform is essential for future development of the country.

We came to Cambodia on this trip to conduct some humanitarian work in support of

schools for the poor, and to aid with the establishment of small enterprises among

Cambodia's poor. We, like many in the world who are aware of Cambodia's tragic Khmer

Rouge years, have a desire to help the people of this country through donations and

expertise.

However, we found that barriers to providing help to Cambodians are so severe that

many people and organizations are discouraged, and the aid they would freely offer

is diverted to other needy countries where fewer roadblocks are encountered.

A primary barrier is the import of goods and equipment. It is well known that corruption

at the seaports results in long delays and requires large pay-offs to officials in

order to import even charitable goods. Many charitable organizations rightly refuse

to pay bribes. They cannot violate their principles by supporting corruption and,

therefore, chose to send their aid elsewhere. This directly harms Cambodia's poor,

but eventually also harms all levels of the country's economy.

The world business community is also acutely aware of the import barriers.

We recently heard business people in the USA state that Cambodia cannot be ranked

as a Third World country. Rather it is a Fourth World country because of

its official and unofficial barriers to import and export. This poor view of the

potential for business investment will continue to harm Cambodia economically until

the government effectively moves to stop corruption.

Possibly the single most effective step toward an improved Cambodian economy would

be for the government to hire incorruptible officials to run the port, pay them a

decent wage, and allow commerce to proceed as it does in other countries. If parliament

can continue its initiative on curbing corruption at the seaport and other points

of entry, Cambodia has a chance to shed its

Fourth World image.

- Richard S. Criddle, JoAn D. Criddle, Logan Utah, USA

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and