Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday ordered that waste collection fees be removed from electricity invoices issued by Cambodian national utility company Electricite du Cambodge (EdC). The decision will take effect from January.
The move came a day after the government revoked the business licence of Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd, the capital’s only waste disposal contractor, and handed over temporary control of rubbish collection to the municipal administration.
Citing reasons for his decision, Hun Sen said the single invoice has caused difficulties for the city’s residents.
“Considering the concerns of Phnom Penh residents over the issue, I’ve decided to have waste collection fees removed from Electricite du Cambodge invoice from January 1, 2020, onwards.
“We will use a new mechanism to charge rubbish collection fees. I have delegated the task to the Minister of Economy and Finance to handle it,” Hun Sen said in his Facebook post on Tuesday.
The ministry’s deputy spokesman Meas Sok Sensan on Wednesday declined to provide details on the new mechanism, saying only that the ministry would convene a meeting over the issue.
“I don’t have any specific information yet because today [Wednesday] is a public holiday. We will hold a meeting when returning to work on Thursday,” he said.
Neither EdC director-general Keo Rattanak nor Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Yos Monirath could be reached for comment on Wednesday.
A Phnom Penh resident who only gave his name as Anon said her family had regularly paid waste collection fees included in EdC invoice.
“I don’t seem to have any problem with the practice. Whether the EdC invoice comes with or without Cintri waste collection fees doesn’t matter. But I agree that there have been problems with the company’s service.
“Some residents say rubbish at their houses is left uncollected. In some cases, they still have to pay the fees even if they lock their home for a long time leaving no rubbish for collection. We pay the bill regularly but sometimes it takes the firm days to collect the rubbish,” she said.
Transparency International (Cambodia) senior programme manager Pech Pisey said the new measure was long overdue. He said the inclusion of rubbish collection fees in EdC invoice was unfair to residents who are made to pay even if they are not provided with the service.
“The exclusion [of waste collection fees] is the right move. If the firm does provide waste collection services, then it should have its own payment procedure. The firm also has to provide a venue for residents to complain to ensure accountability.
“Some residents have complained about the service, only to cause trouble for themselves. Some residents refused to pay the waste collection bill because they are not happy with the service.
“The EdC should not be the one to cut off all services when people refuse to pay for service that had not been provided,” he said.
Pisey called for transparency in future bidding for waste collection contract.