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Saudi loan to develop workforce

Saudi loan to develop workforce

The Ministry of Labour hopes to use a new $20 million loan from Saudi Arabia to develop the country’s workforce.

Yousef Ibrahim Al-Bassam, vice president and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development, led a delegation to Phnom Penh yesterday to discuss plans for the loan. The Saudi Fund is a government agency that sends bilateral aid to developing countries.

Ministry of Labour Secretary of State Pich Sophoan said that while every ministry will have a chance to apply for portions of the loan, which comes with 1 percent interest, he hopes to use some to build vocational and training centres in Cambodia.

“About 300,000 people are jumping into the workforce every year, but we have only been able to keep 200,000 people at the centres,” Sophoan said.

The meeting also raised questions about the status of a proposed deal to reopen the pipeline of Cambodian migrant workers to the gulf nation. The two countries signed an agreement in 2016 to begin work on a final memorandum of understanding, but more work remains.

“Our minister already went [to Saudi Arabia] and signed the MoU, but to send the workers there needs to be an agreement from both sides,” he said.

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