In the latest in a series of populist gestures aimed at small-time vendors, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday cancelled all fees paid by vendors who sell their wares outside market premises in makeshift stalls.
While vendors who own stalls inside the premises still have to pay rent and taxes, the new directive will now spare a large number of street vendors nationwide from paying market owners fees in order to sell their products outside established markets.
“I take care of people’s living standard, especially the small businesses of vendors who face difficulty in finding a place to sell [their products] and do it on the sidewalks at the market,” said Hun Sen, on his Facebook page.
In August, in a bid to allay fears of rising rents, the prime minister declared that stall owners across the country’s markets could retain their spots indefinitely, regardless of their contracts with market operators. The move came days after Hun Sen made a similar promise to vendors in Kampong Chhnang.
Phsar Doeum Kor vendor Cham Chan Na said yesterday that she was happy that the directive solved one of the issues street vendors faced – the other being jostling for locations close to the market. “It will help us a lot if we can sell without paying fees,” she said.
San Chhey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the move would help vendors, but that the government should ensure that local officials did not continue to solicit fees unofficially.
Additional Reporting by Ananth Baliga