A senior official at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said the problem of nearly 100 unfinished buildings under construction in Preah Sihanouk province will eventually be resolved as some building owners are gradually beginning work on them again, while the government also formulates a post Covid-19 re-development strategy.

Seng Lot, spokesman for the ministry’s General Department of Administration, said at an August 24 press conference on the ministry’s five-year achievements that the Covid-19 issue had affected development globally, not only in the Kingdom, so there have been added challenges to businesses of all forms, including with the real estate and construction sectors.

“As a result, we’ve had some unfinished construction projects in our country,” he said.

Most of the unfinished construction projects in Cambodia are in coastal Preah Sihanouk, rather than in Phnom Penh or the other provinces, and the delays in construction are mostly due to various companies’ access to capital due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Citing figures from the cadastral administration and provincial land management department, Lot said there are between 80 and 100 unfinished buildings in Preah Sihanouk.

“I am confident that this problem will be soon resolved. Currently, the government is launching a strategy for post Covid-19 re-development, and between that and new developments and life in the new normal with Covid-19, I believe that this problem won’t last long,” he said.

Lot confirmed that because of the growth of the construction sector in Cambodia from 2008 until now, government management and oversight of projects is highly necessary and there will be penalties imposed on developers for violations like unfinished buildings.

“The goal is to ensure that all construction is safe, beautiful, and respects public order and the environment too. Those are the main goals that we are trying to reach related to construction work,” he said.

According to a ministry report presented at the conference, in the last five years investment in the construction sector reached a high of 19,322 projects with a construction area of 71,459,233sqm and investment capital of over $3.148 billion.

The report stated that from 2000 through the first half of this year, the ministry approved 57,590 construction projects with 166,623,891sqm and investment capital of over $6.62 billion nationwide. Of that, there are 2,472 high-rise buildings over five floors in height and 482 large housing developments such as gated communities, known locally as borey.

In those two-plus decades, the ministry also provided construction licences to 3,244 design and construction companies and provided professional design and construction business certificates to 542 individuals.