Prime Minister Hun Manet has clarified the ‘fruitful results’ of his overseas missions of the past three months. He explained that while he had engaged in discussions about some loan-funded projects, he had also attracted foreign investment and promoted domestic investment, in order to utilise the resources of the private sector.

The remarks came as he presided over the November 22 inauguration of a stretch of National Road 5 which links Prekdam in Kandal’s Ponhea Leu district to Battambang, and a dual groundbreaking ceremony for an additional length of the National Road which will join Serei Saophoan to Poipet. 

The ceremony was held in Kampong Chhnang’s Samaki Meanchey district.

Manet explained that by claiming that the government has done nothing but borrow foreign money for three months, some unnamed critics had overlooked the quality of work the new government has done.

He added that many infrastructure investments were completed with private resources, through a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. Notably, the more than $1 billion Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport was inaugurated through BOT.

“We have devised ways to draw investment into Cambodia through encouraging private investment companies to provide oxygen for the economy,” he continued.

He said that on November 21, he met with several Japanese investors with plans to expand investment in sectors such as human resource development and IT. Over the past three months, he has also served as a conduit to connect people to potential investors in the tourist sector, as well as other industries.

“Over the three months, the government has not slept, nor have we kept borrowing foreign money. We have attracted foreign investment that will serve the citizens,” he added.

During a November 21 press conference held to describe the government’s achievements in its first three months, government spokesman Pen Bona noted that November 22 would mark the three-month anniversary of Manet’s seventh mandate government.

He said that three months may be a short duration, but thanks to its tireless work, the government has accomplished six great achievements.

Government spokesman Pen Bona (right) speaking at a November 21 press conference held to describe the government’s achievements in its first three months.Heng Chivoan

He described the maintenance of the Kingdom’s peace, social, political and economic stability, and the normal function of public administrations as its first achievement.

“Prime Minister Hun Manet guaranteed that everything built by the government of former Prime Minister Hun Sen would remain. Nothing has changed in a negative way,” he said.

The second great achievement was the introduction of the Pentagonal Strategy-Phase I. The strategy prioritises the development of human resources, diversification of the economy, increased competitiveness, and development of the private sector, jobs and digital society.

“The strategy includes six priority policies, including plans to move healthcare towards universal coverage and the promotion of agricultural products,” explained Bona.

Third, the government established the National Authority for Out-of-Court Mediation to resolve disputes in local areas where people live. The Ministry of Justice is currently finalising the procedures and mechanisms that the authority will employ.

Fourth, the prime minister has met with nearly 200,000 factory workers across 10 occasions in Phnom Penh and the provinces. The government has solved many problems for them and raised the minimum wage to $204 for them for 2024. It has also laid out plans to provide vocational and technical training to 1.5 million young people from poor and vulnerable households. 

“No tuition fees will be levied, and a monthly allowance will be provided to support the students,” Bona clarified.

Fifth, its third cabinet meeting approved more than 10 draft pieces of legislation – including the establishment of a border secretariat, a civil aviation secretariat, and a draft royal decree on the organisation and functioning of the Public Administration Reform Committee. Its sixth accomplishment was the success of the government-private sector forum.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that many of the government’s policies had carried over from the previous mandate government, but lauded the peace, political and social stability, public order and development that the Kingdom has continued to enjoy for the past three months. 

He noted that the vocational training programme and deployment of agricultural officials to communes have only just begun. 

“As some projects have just begun, great deals of results have not yet materialised, so let us wait and see. Guaranteeing stability and safety in our society is certainly an achievement, of course. It is also worth noting that under the seventh mandate, the government has attended several major international events, including the UN General Assembly and ASEAN meetings,” he added.