Cambodia on July 28th hosted the 3rd Greater Mekong Sub- Region Environment Ministers to look forward to sustainable economic development in the region and
to talk about current projects to reduce harm for regions and also to minimize several environmental challenges affecting natural resources, forest and biodiversity, water resources, food security, energy and climate change. Prime Minister Hun Sen told environmentalists and foreign diplomats at the Greater Mekong Sub-region
(GMS) environment ministers’ meeting on Thursday that Cambodia is committed to compling with environmental regulations in development. At the same time, greater cooperation is needed for the benefit of the people in the GMS.
Cambodia, on Saturday, hosted the 7th Asia Economic Forum ( AEF) under theme of “The Asian Century in the Making: Achievements, Challenges and Future Trends” while highlighting the majority of the region’s demonstrated remarkable resilience against the global economic and financial crises, while major superpowers including the United States and much of Europe- continue to claw out of debt. Smaller Asian economies are bouncing back to positive territories with signs of rapid recovery and progress. Continue »
Improved transportation links will assist further economic growth in the region, as Cambodia’s economy continues to improve, officials said yesterday. Ministers from Cambodia as well as China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar met yesterday at the 17th Greater Mekong Subregion Ministerial Conference held in Phnom Penh, highlighting areas such as infrastructure and tourism as ripe for increased cooperation. The ministers also highlighted the region’s rapid recovery from the global economic crisis, noting the “Asian region is seen as leading the world recovery from this worst recession in three quarters of a century” in the joint statement.
A proposed increase in the reserve requirement would decrease lending and slow Cambodia’s economic growth, according to some bankers and experts. The National Bank of Cambodia is set to hold a meeting later this month discussing a possible raise of the reserve requirement from 12 percent at present to 16 percent, seeking to rein in inflation which NBC officials have said could hit 9 percent this year. The reserve requirement sets the amount of capital commercial banks must hold rather than lend out, and raising the rate would lower the amount banks are able to lend to customers.
More than 70 employees continued to protest in front of a luxury resort in Siem Reap town yesterday, demanding that 18 workers be reinstated after they were allegedly dismissed for attempting to unionise. Chhey Phi, head of the Angkor Village Resort Workers Union, claimed yesterday that the owners of the Angkor Village Hotel and Resort had accused some employees of poisoning fellow staff members’ food as an excuse for firing them. Provincial labour officials said yesterday that the hotel owners informed them during a meeting on Wednesday that they would reinstate those who had been fired, but that employees who arrived at the hotel yesterday were denied permission to work.
More than 500 workers at a garment factory in suburban Phnom Penh went on strike yesterday over what they described as their employer’s history of disregarding labour laws, including firing pregnant employees. Taiwanese-owned Nan Kuang Garment (Cambodia) allegedly forces staff to work overtime, employs under-age girls and refuses to allow staff to take sick leave, workers striking outside its factory in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune said. They said the sacking of two pregnant staff within the last week triggered the strike.
Following “tough discussions” with Phnom Penh’s deputy governor yesterday, Angkor Beer promoters agreed to suspend their protest for one week starting today. Ou Tep Phally, vice-president of the Cambodian Foods and Service Workers’ Federation, said five beer promoters and one union representative negotiated with officials. More than 30 Angkor Beer promoters have been on strike since July 25 in an attempt to pressure their employer, Cambrew Co Ltd, to implement a July 7 ruling by the Arbitration Council. The council found that the company was legally obligated to pay its beer promoters US$2 per day overtime for working on Sundays, and that it would have to pay them retroactively.
About 60 people representing 1,850 families from seven villages in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district yesterday petitioned Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Prime Minister Hun Sen for intervention in a land dispute. Villagers claim that district authorities leased 4,095 hectares of their land in Chrey Seima and Serei Meanchey communes to Suon Mean Sambath Co Ltd for 70 years to cultivate agro-industrial crops. So Phy, president of Sampov Loun district council, said yesterday that when the villages were created in 2008 the residents had not been granted land rights.
About 2,000 workers fled a garment factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and an estimated 30 workers fainted yesterday after sparks started flying from a generator and a fire alarm went off at 10:00am. Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said the episode highlighted safety concerns at the facility. A manager at Zhen Tai Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd, however, downplayed the incident, blaming it on the person who pulled the fire alarm. Zhen Tai’s chief of administration Kea Cheakea said there had been no reason to pull it.
An environmental group has accused the Lao government of “unilaterally” pushing forward with construction on the controversial US$3.8 billion Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River, despite serious concerns about the project and an incomplete regional decision-making process. In a statement released yesterday, conservation group International Rivers said that a field visit to the proposed dam site late last month revealed that construction on an access road and work-camp was proceeding in spite of commitments from Laos to temporarily suspend the project. The release also stated that a meeting of the four lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – in Phnom Penh today to discuss further steps in the Mekong River Commission’s consultation process had been postponed “without explanation”.
The number of visitors to Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaelogical Park in the first six months of the year increased about 25 percent over the same period last year, according to figures released yesterday by the Apsara Authority, which runs the site. According to the figures, nearly 700,000 people visited the park between January and June. During the same period last year, 559,321 people visited the park.
The number of businesses that registered at the Ministry of Commerce during the first seven months of this year increased 34 percent compared to the same period last year, according to ministry figures released yesterday. According to the data, in the first seven months of 2011, a total of 1,821 businesses registered with the ministry, up from 1,358 the year before. Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Commerce, said an improved business climate has given foreign investors more incentive to state a business here.
With the paving of the road from Sen Monorom City to a planned international border crossing with Vietnam recently completed, cross-border trade in the area is expected to rise, officials said. Chinese-owned company Roch China Construction finished paving the 32-km road last month using a $19 million Chinese loan for the construction, said Aisi Sokuntheari deputy provincial governor. The proposed crossing fromO’Reang district’s Dak Dam commune to Bu Trang in Vietnam is still being negotiated between governments, but would hopefully open by the end of the year, she added.
Ministers from the six Mekong region nations concluded a two-day meeting yesterday in which they solidified plans for an economic strategy that would span a decade and require billions in investment. Speaking at Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace at the annual ministerial meeting, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh touched upon the cornerstones of a 10-year plan, supported by the Asian Development Bank, that focuses heavily on infrastructure projects, trade expansion and rural development. Chhen Kimlong, an economist at the University of Cambodia, said yesterday that closing the education gap between the member countries may well prove the biggest obstacle.
About 60 villagers from Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district gathered in Phnom Penh’s Wat Botum Park yesterday to prtotested against a 4,065-hectare land concession granted to a company for agriculture development. Korng Sokheng, a representative for 1,850 families, said villagers submitted a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng requesting the government’s intervention to precent development on the land. According to Battambang provincial deputy governor Sieng Sothang, the government ranted the concession to Suon Mean Sambath Company in April.
Cambodia’s garment sector is in danger of losing its reputation for adherence to international labor standards because of the widespread use of “abusive temporary labor contracts,” according to a report released by Yale Law School on Wednesday. “Cambodian garment manufacturers have adopted the practice of employing their regular, full-time workforce almost exclusively on temporary, fixed-duration contracts (FDCs) that are repeatedly renewed,” the report stated. Among the problems with FDCs were issues of annual leave, maternity leave and seniority bonuses, all of which workers can only access after a year at a company, said Moeun Tola, from the Community Legal Education Center’s labor project.
Architectural plans of a property development that is blamed for causing structural damage to French colonial-era buildings on Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay show drawings of a five-story residential building, complete with underground car parking. According to the plans, dated July 11, the mysterious company behind the development is called Sam Ang Vattanac Company. Chhun Leang, co-found and president of Vattanac Bank, which is part of a family-run group of businesses that includes Vattanac Properties, has denied that her firm is involved in the Sisowath Quay development. Ms Leang has said that the project is the responsibility of an individual whom she declined to identify. The director of the firm’s Vattanac Properties is one Sam Ang Vattanac, who is the son of Ms. Leang.
Cambodia’s property tax is to come into effect next month, though experts say the levy is not widely understood and may be too early. The property tax will initially focus on the capital’s properties, comprising an annual payment calculated of 0.1 percent of the value of the property as estimated by an evaluation committee, according to previous prakas. Phnom Penh’s properties have been valuated by a committee formed by the Minister of Economy and Finance, with Bonna Realty Group assisting the process.
Chevron Overseas Petroleum (Cambodia) has been actively exploring Cambodia’s offshore Block A, and applied for a permit to begin extraction from government authorities. Yesterday, The Post caught up with its President Steve Glick, who has been in his present role in Phnom Penh for about three months, to discuss the company’s operations in the Kingdom, as well as the issues affecting the domestic oil and gas industry.
Increased interest by Asian tourists has led to about 33 percent growth for Angkor Wat ticket sales so far this year, according to the Apsara Authority. Revenues during the first six months hit US$20 million, compared with about $15 million in the period last year, figures from the authority, which manage the temples, show. The growth in ticket sales comes as Asian tourists in particular see Cambodia as a stable country to travel to, said Apsara Authority Director General Bun Narith.