IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis! – Saturday, 14.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

Note:

Apologies for the rough language – it is the policy of The Mirror to provide readers of the English translations a glimpse at the sometimes rough world of Khmer journalism as it is – as always, without endorsing opinions expressed, nor being able to verify the veracity of original statements.

“A representative of the International Monetary Fund, Mr. John Nelmes [IMF Resident Representative in Cambodia], had predicted that Cambodia would encounter the consequences of the global economic crisis, and it is necessary to be prepared in advance.

“However, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, became angry and shouted that the Cambodian economy cannot decline as predicted by this person or by that person.

“It should be remembered that the IMF had warned recently, ‘Cambodia is heading toward an economic downturn and the GDP will decline to a growth rate of only 0.5% this year, after there was rigid growth during one whole decade.’

“Moreover, Mr. John Nelmes emphasized again on Thursday [12 March 2009], ‘The Cambodian economy is in a negative status, such instability happens in the context of a bleak global economic atmosphere. We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.’

“Mr. John Nelmes added, ‘Any hope for next year’s economic growth in Cambodia is not clear, because we foresee only 3% growth for 2010, but it might change.’

“Mr. Nelmes went on to say, ‘The export data of some countries are terrible, and the US retail sellers will have negative growth rates this year. This is not a good omen for garment exports.’

“Mr. Nelmes continued to say that also the high inflation in 2008, and the rising price of the dollar make Cambodia to become a more expensive goal for tourism.

“He predicted that tourism, which had an annual growth rate of nearly 20% during three or four years, decreased to around only 5% in 2008, and might also encounter negative growth rates in 2009. The selling of cars and of motorbikes dropped now by 50%, [for cars] and it had been down by 20% at the end of 2008, compared to the twelve months of the previous year.

“The executive director of the ANZ Royal Bank, Mr. Stephen Higgins, said that Cambodia needs cheaper electricity and more roads to encourage broader commercial exchanges.

“Mr. Higgins added that while one kilowatt/hour of electricity costs around US$0.05 in Vietnam, in Cambodia it can cost up to US$0.18, which is much more expensive than in Vietnam. He went on to say that the cost of transportation of agricultural goods in Cambodia is four times more expensive than in Thailand, adding, ‘This is a big difficulty. If the government wants to spend its money, it should spend it on anything that promotes the productivity in the country.’ He continued to say that although the agricultural structure might get improved and likely earn additional income, employment opportunities will be less. More production in different other sectors besides the garment sector will absorb a growing number of the labor force. The garment sector was producing more than half of the industrial output of the country, while food production earned only about 10 percent.

“Also, Mr. Higgins looks forward to the promise that there will be a Commercial Court to solve commercial disputes, which is a key factor to encourage investors.

“He added that corruption is still another concern for investors – different anti-corruption laws and regulations could solve this situation. He said, ‘Everything to clear up corruption will have long-lasting results.’

“Recently, a parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘The government has to recognize the serious situation of Cambodia and must not conceal it. And the government must really support the budget package of around US$500 million [proposed by the Sam Rainsy Party] to encourage the economy.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party said so after the Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, had dismissed the predictions about the dramatic downturn of the economy of the country, which suffers the impacts of the global economic crisis.

“The Prime Minister, who boasts about his political achievements, claimed proudly to protect this bad face, saying , ‘Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.’

“Because of this persistence, without recognizing what is right or wrong, Hun Sen predicted the future of the economy in Cambodia himself, ‘Cambodia will have 6% GDP growth in 2009.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen chatted lightly, referring to America, Europe, Japan, and Korea as elephants. He added, ‘The global economic crisis in Asia in 1997 was like a sheep that fell dead on the elephants’ legs. But now, the elephants died and fell on sheep’s legs.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the government still hides the rate of economic changes, they will be hurt by it in turn.’ He added that the IMF might make only few mistakes in their forecasting, which is technical and it is not colored by politics.

“He went on to say, ‘The government should not mix politics with technical problems.’

“The Cambodian economic growth, predicted for 2009 after just two or three months, was nearly 5%. However, on Friday last week [6 March 2009], the IMF listed Cambodia among the countries facing an economic slowdown.

“The IMF predicted that Cambodia will have another 0.5% drop in economic growth, because of the global economic crisis, and the decline of tourism, and of the construction and the garment sectors.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Cambodia Restricts to Climb to the Preah Vihear Temple, and a Siamese [Thai] Monk Is Arrested for Attempting to Climb to the Temple
  • The UN Drug and Crimes Office [in Cambodia] Hopes that [the former commander-in-chief, who has just been appointed as the 10th deputy prime minister in charge of drug administration] Mr. Ke Kim Yan Will Strongly Act to Combat Drugs
  • The Government Provides a Livelihood Allowance of Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5.00] per Month to Civil Servants
  • The Court Orders Police to Detain a Taiwanese Man and a Military Police Officer for International Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Security Companies Sign Agreements with the National Police Office to Promote Citizens’ Security
  • Japan, South Korea, and America Announce to Shoot Down a North Korean’s Satellite Launching

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1897, 14.3.2009

  • The National Election Committee Bars Foreign Passport Holders to Join the [district and provincial/city council] Election Campaign

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

  • IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6602, 14-15.3.2009

  • Senior Official of UNESCO [Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï] Promised to Work for a Sustainable Protection OF the Preah Vihear Temple [he said SO during his official visit to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man from Hong Kong Had 846 Gram of Heroin When He Wanted to Board a Plane [he was arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport]
  • The Iraqi Journalist Who Threw a Shoe at Mr. Bush Is Sentenced to Serve Three Years in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4845, 14.3.2009

  • The Minister of Labor [Mr. Vong Soth]: 99 Factories Are Closed, 78 Factories Are Opened, and 20,000 Unemployed Workers Are Seeking Jobs
  • Cambodian and America Look for Possibilities to Encourage Agricultural Production
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces to Allow the [national and international] Public to Attend [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Hearing [on 30 March 2009]
  • The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia
  • Vietnam Provides Documents and More Than 300 Photos Regarding the Khmer Rouge Regime

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Tuesday, 1.7.2008: Capacity and Quality Are Required at the Labor Market Inside and Outside of the Country

Posted on 2 July 2008. Filed under: Week 567 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 567

“Phnom Penh: According to a source from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Cambodia will create a National Occupation Agency soon to help prepare and support exporting part of its labor force to foreign countries. Mr. Pich Sophan, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, values to export part of the labor force to foreign countries through labor migration as very important for Cambodia both now and in future, because it contributes to provide income to gain international financial resources in order to support the Cambodian economy, and it can also improve the capacity and the skills of Khmer laborers after they return to the country.

“Nowadays, Cambodia is facing an increasing labor force which is estimated to be approximately 300,000 persons each year. The Royal Government has tried to deal with this labor force by attracting investors to Cambodia and by accepting graduates to work under this challenge. However, it is not enough; what is important is the involvement of the private sector.

“Obviously, besides about 500 garment and shoe factories which are employing about 500,000 laborers during the period of six months in early 2008, the Royal Government has gained US$1,000 million from foreign investment, which is US$300 million more than during the same period of last year. This number is not high enough for the Royal Government to solve the ongoing unemployment problem. However, the capacity and the quality of the laborers are also problems. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training shows that at present, there are 4,400 legal laborers from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Cambodia.

“Nevertheless, Mr. Chea Mony, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, disagreed that number of foreign laborers could become even higher, and he called on the Royal Government to carefully monitor this in order to uphold the state tax income and to follow the laws. On the other hand, the Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Uom Mean, evaluated it as a positive sign in the era of globalization, and the mutual exchanges of foreign labor is also showing the start of new developments in Cambodia – it is the use of human resources that have special skills.

“As for Mr. Sok Sina, a Research Associate of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, he said that he welcomes only foreign laborers with special skills, because they can provide experience and knowledge to our Khmer laborers.

“According to the evaluation above, the quality of laborers is very important when seeking employment in the country, and also when considering to export labor to foreign countries.

“Mr. Rice Grand [phonetic], an expert in development skills in the International Labor Organization [ILO], said that Cambodia can export part of its labor force, but it is necessary to further extend training.

“The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports Mr. Pit Chamnan said that in 2010, the number of students attending higher education will rise to more than 230,000, for which better education is required. Mr. Jean-Boris Roux, the president of the French and Khmer Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that educating students with different skills to meet the needs of the labor market is most important to develop the country.

“However, he acknowledged that there is some progress in education, but the quality is limited, making it difficult for different companies to find staff who has the needed skills and high capacity. On 13 June 2008, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, head of the Khmer Royal Government, instructed the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports to focus on education in the sector of mining and of energy, which will become an important labor market in the next few years.

“As for the exporting of laborers to foreign countries through the ITS and EPS systems [meanings not clear – any suggestions from our readers?], the Ministry of Labor has sent nearly 4,000 laborers to work in South Korea, more that 7,000 laborers to Malaysia, and nearly 20,000 to Thailand.

“Mr. Seng Sata, a department director of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said that the Ministry of Labor is contacting four other countries to find labor markets for Cambodian laborers who have the skills needed, such as in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. At present, there are two organizations that help to develop national qualification standards, ILO and KOIKA of South Korea. Therefore, from now on, to meet the needs of local and foreign labor markets following the development of the country, Khmer laborers must develop to be laborers who have the respective capacities and qualities.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1681, 1.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1681, 1.7.2008

  • Capacity and Quality Are Required at the Labor Market Inside and Outside of the Country
  • Ieng Sary [former Khmer Rouge minister of foreign affairs] Is Seriously Ill so that He Could Not Sit and Listen during the Court Hearing [on 30 June 2008]
  • The King Calls Citizens to Vote According to Their Own Conscience
  • Cambodian Delegates Go to Attend the Annual Summit Meeting of the World Customs Co-Operation Council in Belgium
  • Road in Front of the Royal Palace Blocked from Marching or Shouting by Political Parties
  • Gold Sellers of Nine Stalls Robbed in Odongk Market, and Jewelries Worth about US$300,000 Were Taken [Kompong Speu]
  • Thousands of People Revolted against the Chinese Police over One Teenage Girl’s Death [after police claimed that she committed suicide by drowning, while the people claimed that she was raped and killed by throwing her into a river by a son of a local official in Guizhou Province – 贵州省 (simplified) – 貴州省 (traditional)
  • Mugabe Sworn in to Take the Position [of Zimbabwean president] after an Election Which Is Not Trusted Widely


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #146, 1.7.2008

  • Great Heroic King [Norodom Sihanouk] Warned Funcinpec [not to use his portraits for election propaganda – 30 June 2008]
  • Chief of Stung Treng Forestry Officials Is Accused of Releasing Seized Wood of Seven Cubic Meters
    Youth Are Concerned about the Spreading of Drugs in Cambodia
  • Cambodia Needs a Laboratory to Analyze How Many Elephants Are still Free in the Nature


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3500, 1.7.2008

  • Police Are Busy with the Election Propaganda Allowing Merchants to Import Contraband into Cambodia Actively


Prachea Chun Khmer, Vol.15, #34, 30.7.2008

  • Community Based Eco-Tourism Guarantees to Have Good Tourism Products [where the community created a tourist resort by using natural or cultural resources as the attraction, and people in the community can benefit from tourists by selling products created by them, moreover the natural and cultural resources of the community will be preserved with the strong involvement by people of that community]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4629, 1.7.2008

  • Thai Opposition Party [Democratic Party] Lodged a Motion against the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple [as a World Heritage Site on 30 June 2008, as it cuts the wider environment off according to the map produced by Cambodia, without having national borders in the area clarified, which the 1962 International Court of Justice decision had left open, and recommended mutual clarification, which was still not done during the more than 40 years which passed]
  • US Ambassador Admires Club of Cambodian Journalists for the Competition of Writing Investigating Articles [Mr. Om Layum from Rasmei Kampuchea ranks first, Mr. Leang Deluch from Cambodge Soir ranks second, and Mr. Ung Sophea also from Cambodge Soir ranks third]

Have a look at the last editorial – Preah Vihear still in the headlines – more information about Thailand’s and Cambodia’s documents.

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