Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth held a meeting on Tuesday with the Supreme Council for Consultations to discuss a draft law on the control, use and management of state assets.

The objective of the law, he said, is to better clarify the definition of state assets and reduce the risk of collusion and private overlap of ownership.

Cambodia Youth Party head Pich Sros, a council member, told The Post that the property draft law has 12 chapters and 92 articles.

“The law on the control and management of state assets is important to manage state properties. It serves to avoid collusion which could cause the state to lose property. The law will define clearly what the state properties entail,” he said.

He said what was most interesting about the properties draft law was the issue of economic land concession, which many see as in need of an update.

The draft law states that all concession contracts must not be over 50 years. Currently, 231 companies have economic land concessions from the state covering 1.1 million hectares.

The government has already reviewed the contracts of 65 companies and decided to reduce their contracts to just 50 years, Sros said.

He said it benefits the country greatly to have tighter controls on companies granted large swaths of land. “In the past, the concessions were up to 99 years. It was too long. Now, it is just 50 years and suitable for investors,” Sros said.

Pornmoniroth told the meeting participants that the price of a land concession was traditionally $5 per hectare and charged only if the company uses the land.

However, from now on, any company that receives a land concession from the government must pay their rent. And if the land is not used, the government will revoke the contract.

He said the Council did not have any objection to the draft laws. The draft laws could reach the Council of Ministers later this week.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Meas Soksensan said the meeting was procedural and necessary before a draft law can reach the Council of Ministers and Parliament.

Besides the properties draft law, the Supreme Council for Consultations also discussed a new draft law on the control of online commercial gambling. It has 12 chapters and 98 articles.

Sros said it is important to re-emphasise that Cambodians cannot engage in such activity.

“The law on online gambling is also good because it will prevent anarchy and insecurity which can bring danger to society,” he said of the prohibition.

“The law states that Cambodian citizens are not allowed to gamble at any casino. If they do so, they would be punished by law,” Sros said.

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