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New rules for taxmen

Transport vehicles and food stalls fill the forecourt of Phnom Penh’s Orussey Market
Transport vehicles and food stalls fill the forecourt of Phnom Penh’s Orussey Market yesterday afternoon. Vireak Mai

New rules for taxmen

Following an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen last month to crack down on intimidation and harassment by tax collectors in local markets, City Hall pledged to take legal action yesterday.

Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong told municipal and provincial governors that fines for rogue collectors would not be enough during a meeting with local authorities and market representatives in the capital.

“We will no longer fine [collectors], we will terminate their contract and file a lawsuit in court if we find out they made this mistake,” Socheatvong said, adding that collectors would be compensated if the government’s case did not stand up in court.

Tax collectors are also now expected to wear uniforms when patrolling the market and collecting fees and taxes.

“I will give [tax collectors] a 15-day deadline to begin wearing a uniform that [exhibits their] name and identification number,” he added.

The new rules represent an attempt to advocate “moralistic” behaviour from local employees, according to Socheatvong.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the capital’s Royal School of Administration, Hun Sen distanced himself last month from what he said were the strong-arm tactics of licensed collectors, adding that many people erroneously thought they worked for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Independent analyst Chea Vannath said that conflict between vendors and collectors would remain while there were no set prices on public services.

“I think that if City Hall also posted a billboard listing all the [set] prices for each tax and fee for items sold it would be more affective, transparent and easy for all people,” Vannath said.

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