Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dredging by the numbers




Dredging by the numbers

A barge filled with sand travels through Koh Kong province on Saturday. Photo supplied
A barge filled with sand travels through Koh Kong province on Saturday. Photo supplied

Dredging by the numbers

Analytical figures posted anonymously on the Facebook page of the pro-transparency group Integrity Cambodia on Saturday estimates that if the UN data on sand exports to Singapore are accurate, Cambodia missed out on about $35 million in potential revenue.

The UN data show that since 2007, some $752 million in sand was imported by Singapore from Cambodia. The Kingdom has only reported about $5 million in exports to the small island nation during the same time period, prompting accusations of corruption and mismanagement in the much-maligned sector.

The $35 million estimate consists of $9 million in royalties, $15 million from tax on exports and about $11 million from tax on profits, the figures say. But the calculation uses several assumptions, including that the price of sand in Cambodia is one fifth of the price of sand in Singapore.

An anonymous contributor to the page characterised the numbers as a way to spark “critical thinking” on the potential for lost state revenue.

Meng Saktheara, spokesman with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the ministry had not been aware of the page, but said he had looked into the figures.

The calculation approach as presented “is rightly depicting Cambodia fiscal regime on this business”, he said. It’s a good way to “roughly estimate” potential state revenue, he added, while noting that the data wasn’t perfect.

“Based on my experiences and understanding of the global mining sector, the calculation on that page gives a good indication, although it has so many assumptions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry on Saturday suspended the sand-dredging activities of Udom Seima Company around Koh Kong province’s Koh Smach island after it received a complaint that the company was operating too close to the riverbank, Dith Tina, secretary of state for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, confirmed.

Following the complaint, the ministry sent officials to check the area and found that the company’s operations were indeed too close to the riverbank, Tina said. “We ordered them to stop,” he said.

The ministry was waiting for a report from its provincial counterpart in Koh Kong to determine whether the company violated the provisions in its licence, he added. Tina also said the ministry had issued a letter to the company to suspend its export activity to review their contract information.

Sun Mala, an activist with the environmental NGO Mother Nature, said that on Thursday and Friday, activists with the organisation and a number of villagers observed Udom Seima was operating too close to a nearby mangrove forest, causing some parts to collapse.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and