People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture – Thursday, 1.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“A report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund [UNCDF] released yesterday found that workers in rural areas in Cambodia are shifting to do different work besides agriculture, formerly the only source of their income. They are leading a change that can boost sustainable development in rural areas.

“The UNCDF report says that while about 80% of Cambodian citizens are mostly living as farmers, the economy in rural areas has extensive potential that is not yet used through the diversification of the economy.

“According to the above report, called Basic Development Outlook, that tries to support decentralization, two years ago, 91% of the poor people in Cambodia lived in rural areas.

This report says that even though agricultural development is crucial for Cambodia, also the diversification of the economy in rural areas, and strategies to reorganize basic policies might encourage the growth of the economy in rural areas, to move Cambodians out of poverty.

“The report says, ‘The current integrating policy strategy to develop rural areas in Cambodia focuses on agriculture and the provision of social and public services, and on the social safety network. These are necessary policies, but frequently they are not adequate for improving basic economic developments.’

“The main author of the report and Chief Technical Advisor of UNCDF, Mr. Nicola Crosta, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday, 30 June 2010, that workers in rural areas change to work in other sectors, like tourism, due to the increasing use of machinery in agriculture in Cambodia. Therefore, this sector needs less and less labor.

“Mr. Crosta added, ‘Must importantly the Cambodian government must anticipate the future (of rural development) and must not fall into the trap to think only of agriculture (that means there must be other sectors for citizens in rural areas in addition to agriculture).’

“A government official said to the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday that the government has decided to concentrate on basic developments, stressing that the increase of the yield of rice is a measure to improve the livelihood of people living in rural areas.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Iv Tong, welcomes ‘that machinery is used in cultivation, as it can increase productivity, and most importantly, improve the livelihood of farmers, and it contributes to economic growth in Cambodia.’

“He added that rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are a means to improve the living condition of farmers.

“But the above report warns, ‘While infrastructure is crucial, it should not be considered as enough for the development of the economy.’

“In the meantime, some economic advisors do not agree with the opinion that the improvement of agricultural techniques through the use of machinery leads to unemployment.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale businesses, Mr. Ut Ren, said that many laborers lose their jobs because of the replacement of human power by machinery, but they then seek jobs in food manufacturing factories.

“He added, ‘We should not be concerned that agricultural development would affect rural employment. What we have to be worried about is how much potential from this sector can be used more productively.’

“Nevertheless, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, believes that at present, there is too little industry in rural areas, so it cannot provide enough jobs for farmers.

“He said, ‘Farmers would seek jobs in new areas in agriculture such as in former forest areas, and they will travel to Thailand to seek jobs.’

“Without worrying too much about the challenges in rural areas in Cambodia, the UNCDF believes that the strengthening of decisions at the basic levels in Cambodia is an important way to boost economic growth.

“He added that at present, Cambodia is improving a 10-year plan that shows policies relating to these views.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #446, 1-2.7.2010

  • Eight Relatives of [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Are Reported [by The Nation on 30 June 2010] to Be Entering Cambodia [bringing much money, millions of Baht, with them, but Cambodia denied it] (no more details are given)

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

  • Cholera Killed Six Prov Ethnic People [25 Others are hospitalized – Lum Phat district, Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [and five other officials] Recovered from A/H1N1 [Swine Flu]
  • Cambodia Sent a Diplomatic Note to Siam [Thailand] to Investigate the Fatal Shooting on a Khmer Citizen near a Border Crossing in Sampov Loun [Battambang, that had accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

  • The Transportation of Luxury Grade Wood Occurs Again in Siem Reap [two cars were intercepted with illegal wood, and four people were arrested]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy Plans to Create a Real-Estate Assessment Committee in Order to Start to Collect Taxes at the End of This Year [it will help increase the national income from US$3 million to US$9 million, after Cambodia experienced a drop of income due to the global financial crisis]
  • An Australian Company [OZ Minerals] Wants that the Authorities Provide Appropriate Compensation to Poor Citizens before Evicting Them, when Claiming Land for Exploring Gold Minerals [in Mondol Seima district, Mondolkiri – both the company and the government share the income from the exploitation of gold]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

  • People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture
  • [Eighty seven] TACFAT Factory Workers Protested in Front of the Ministry of Labor to Demand Their Salaries [from the owner of the factory]
  • Global Witness Welcomes the Clarification [by the Minister of the Council of Ministers] of Oil Issue [about the payment by the Total company to receive exploration right from the Cambodian government], Mr. Sok An, but suggested that the government should publish the full details of all agreements and of account balances, so that the Cambodian people can be confident that the deals are above board]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

  • Bank Systems in Cambodia Are Mostly Controlled by Foreigners [there are 27 commercial banks, where as many as 17 banks are completely controlled by foreigners, and among 6 specialized banks and 20 micro-finance institutions about 77% are controlled by foreigners]
  • The Users of the Banking System [those who deposit their money in banks] Increased to About One Million [in 2009; according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia – Friday, 19.3.2010

Posted on 20 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.

“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.

“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.

“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.

“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.

“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular’s declared Mission is Freedom to access today’s world for people in emerging markets].

Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, http://www.mobitel.com.kh/ offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone http://www.mfone.com.kh/ with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.

“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’

“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.

“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.

“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

  • China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Talked about the Loss of Territory to Vietnam Again, but Government Officials Rejected It
  • While a Family Was Eating Dinner Together, They Were Attacked by a Grenade, Killing Two Children and Injuring Eleven Other Persons [a suspect, who had a conflict with the family, was arrested – Kompong Cham]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2205, 19.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Told the Great King [Norodom Sihanouk] that His Map [that he had used earlier] Is Right
  • The Construction Site of the Phnom Penh Sugar Cane Factory Was Burnt Down by [nearly 600] Residents of the Amleang Commune [accusing the company of violating their land – Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #630, 19.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Want the European Community to Provide More Aid to Cambodia, but We Also Want the National Assembly to Play an Important Role [to review the implementation of laws by the government – he said so after a meeting with a delegation from the European Union]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6912, 19.3.2010

  • The Authorities Announced that Karaoke Parlors and Nightclubs Have to Shut by Midnight [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 19.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Condemned the Coup of 18 March 1970 by [field marshal] Lon Nol [saying that if there had been no such a coup, there would have been no destruction of Cambodia – Note: It was on 18 March 1970 that the National Assembly instituted the National Assembly President Cheng Heng as acting chief of state by a vote of 89 to 3, while Prince Sihanouk was in Moscow; on 24 March he called, now in China, for armed resistance against the new government arrangements in Phnom Penh]
  • Two Separate Land Conflicts in Kompong Speu Led to Violence Which Resulted in 14 Police Officers and 12 Other Citizens Being Injured [in one case, the authorities tried to evict citizens who lost a complaint against the Meng Keth company, and in another, citizens clashed with the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5154, 19.3.2010

  • [70 km of] National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Was Inaugurated [Ratanakiri]
  • Chevron Contributed Almost US$200,000 to Help Educate Poor Fishery Communities about Health and Micro Finance
  • Germany Donated [20] Computers Worth More Than US$30,000 to the National Assembly of Cambodia

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The Financial Sector in Cambodia Employs 14,698 People – Tuesday, 27.10.2009

Posted on 28 October 2009. Filed under: Week 636 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 636

“Phnom Penh: All banks and micro-credit institutions in Cambodia employ 14,698 Cambodian persons, according to a report from the National Bank of Cambodia.

“The report of the National Bank issued recently said that banks and micro-credit institutions provide jobs for 14,698 people.

“The report shows that all commercial and other special banks create jobs for 9,550 citizens in total, while micro-finance institutions employ 5,148 people.

“According to this report, all banks in Cambodia recognized by the National Bank provide a variety of numbers of jobs. The banks employ between 13 to 6,128 persons, while the micro-finance institutions employ freom 6 to 1,024 persons.

“Based on the report, the job market in the banking and micro-finance sectors has achieved a moderate growth rate. In 2007, all commercial and other special banks provided 6,869 jobs, while in 2006, they could employ only 4,624 persons. Micro-finance institutions employed just 3,511 persons in 2007, and only 2,503 persons in 2006.

“By now, there are 24 commercial banks, 6 specialized banks, 18 micro-finance institutions, 26 rural credit operators, and about 60 organizations handling credits.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5031, 27.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #321, 27.10.2009

  • India Promised to Provide US$15 Million in Loans to Cambodia [for economic and social development]
  • The Ministry of Health Warned Clinics That Offer A/H1N1 Vaccine [saying that the vaccine has to be approved by the Ministry of Health]
  • [Anonymous] Robber Stabbed a Man [to death] to Rob His Motorbike – He Escaped Safely [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2082, 27.10.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor’s Statement [about Thaksin] Does Not Affect the Cambodian-Thai Relationship [according to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva]
  • A Philippine Man Was Convicted to Serve 25 Years in Prison, and Fined to Pay Riel 80 Million [US$20,000] for Cross Border Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Does Not Want to Celebrate His Birth Day [on 31 October 2009, but he does not provide any reason]
  • Bombs Exploded against the Government in Baghdad, Killing 147 People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6789, 27.10.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Prepare 6,530 Uniformed Forces to Maintain Order during the Water Festival [from 2 to 4 November 2009]
  • Six Communes in Russey Keo District Are Flooded by Rain [Phnom Penh – the Russey Keo Deputy governor, Mr. Kob Sles, blames climate change – but according to other sources, residents blame the unchecked filling of natural ponds and lakes by property developers for the disaster]
  • A Monk Beat a Nun to Death, then Took Off His Robe and Hid in a Temple [he was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5031, 27.10.2009

  • The Financial Sector in Cambodia Employs 14,698 People
  • Cambodian Troops Increase Alert at the Border after the War of Words between Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit
  • Sam Rainsy Led Villagers to Remove Border Markers [set by the Cambodian and Vietnamese border committees] and the Government Accused Him of Destroying State Property

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1816, 27.10.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy parliamentarian] Son Chhay: The Prime Minister Has Never Appeared in the National Assembly to Question Him According to the Law Since 1993

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The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict – Friday, 16.10.2009

Posted on 18 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634

“Mobile phone businesses in Cambodia, working under unclear regulations, seem to encounter unexpectedly a stormy and disorderly time. For the morning of 16 October 2009, the Minister of Post and Telecommunications plans to organize a special meeting with representatives of mobile phone companies to intervene in the existing conflict, but it is expected that proper results cannot be found from just one coordination meeting.

“Mobile phone service providers said that the circular of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, administered by Minister Keat Chhon, from 29 September 2009, says to require all mobile phone companies to pay taxes for all types of calls by their clients [calls-in and calls-out]. But it is said that tax officials do not join now to work on taxes, which must always be settled at the end of every year.

“Mobile phone service providers note that the circular of Mr. Keat Chhon seems to bring a new restriction for mobile phone companies, as calls within the same system, which at some companies cost zero cents, will have to change soon. The free calls within the Beeline and the Smart Mobile systems will no longer be allowed to continue, while the Ministry of Economy starts to collect taxes from these call by their clients.

“It is noted that the initiative for a clear set of taxes on call led to this intervention, requiring all mobile phone companies to limit all call to be cost charged, in order to eliminate dishonest competition at the market, for which the Beeline company had been accused by the Mobitel company.

“The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications agreed to issue a license for a data management center to control the data of telecommunication and of information technology services, based on Decree 135, dated 15 September 2008. Through the plan to create a center to control data of telecommunication and information technology services, the government, represented by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, will cooperate with the private data management center as stated in the cooperation deal.

“This center for the control of data of telecommunication and of information technology services will be responsible for:

  1. Directly control all data of telecommunication and information technology services, and update them, based on the advance of technology in this sector;
  2. Control and monitor all activities of the center;
  3. Regularly report about the traffic and the figures of income, in order to facilitate the calculation of taxes, and the distribution of income between the state. and the telecommunication and information technology service providers and operators, who are partners;
  4. Provide accurate data for income forecasts, to analyze the economic potential, and for development projects in telecommunication and information technology.
  5. Broaden and control the inter-network connections, in order to ensure calls between different system to work smoothly to avoid traffic congestion between all operating networks;
  6. Support small operators to operate through the opening of special networks outside of the system;
  7. Disconnect illegal traffic exchanges, following the authorities’ orders and the telecommunication regulations;
  8. Regularly review the system at set times for all operating networks.

“Some mobile phone operators are not satisfied with this, because probably the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication lacks the capital and the technicians, and therefore will cooperate with private companies to control telecommunication and information technology services, leading to conflicts of interest among mobile phone companies. Actually, the state already has the a structure within Post and Telecommunications that can control telecommunication data, and it is not necessary to cooperate with a private data management center, a private company.

“Also the circular that restricts certain system call of the clients, according to mobile phone service providers, will create work for the private data management center and encourage this company to begin collecting call taxes. This might ease the tax collection of the Ministry of Economy, but it leads to conflicts of interest, as the state does not have the ability to work on this by itself, but offers this opportunity to a private company to easily take benefits.

“[The Minister for Post and Telecommunications] Mr. So Khun had tried to intervene to solve the conflicts between mobile phone companies which are competing with each other dishonestly, including the fact that some stopped to connect inter-system traffic, but it seemed to create problems between mobile phone businesspeople in Cambodia. These might be the result of uncertain laws and regulations for the operation of mobile phone businesses in Cambodia.

“There is one proper solution to end the conflicts among mobile phone operators, that is the suggestion to the government, especially to Prime Ministry Hun Sen, to cancel the license for a data management cente with full rights to control the telecommunication and the information technology data in Cambodia, and to encourage the state to administer this itself, because by doing so, at least some of the profits do not fall into the hands of a private company.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #312, 16.10.2009

  • Gold Sellers and Currency Exchangers Were Robed Again, Taking Away More Than US$50,000 [Phnom Penh]
  • Cotton Will Have Markets Again after There Is Investment for Export to International Markets
  • There Are Positive Signs of Recovering at Micro-Finance Institutions [Sthapana Limited, Amarith, and Prasak micro-credit-institutions claim that they are again giving out more loans]
  • Cambodia Asked for Financial Support from the United Arab Emirates to Develop Some Projects [in infrastructure and agriculture – no information stated if these were requests for loans or for grants]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2073, 16.10.2009

  • Cambodia Might Not Bring the Border Dispute to the ASEAN Summit [after the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs sent an official response, to deny the intention to create a neutral unit in ASEAN to solve border disputes, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia – according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Three Chinese Men Were Arrested for Questioning after Assaulting and Injuring Two Police Seriously [Kampot]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict
  • Russia Will Intensify Cultural Ties with Cambodia to Open a New Historical Page [by showing Russian films about the victory of Russia in World War II, from 20 to 24 October 2009, at the Russian Center of Science and Culture along the Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh; and Cambodia and Russia will cooperate in film production in 2010]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #510, 16.10.2009

  • Within the Last Four Months More Than 400 Trucks Loaded Wood from Ratanakiri to Carry to Yuon [Vietnam – according to a Ratanakiri official who reported it anonymously]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6780, 16.10.2009

  • Houses [of 28 families] Constructed on a Pedestrian Area at the Roundabout of the Chroy Chongva Bridge Were Removed [and destroyed, to widen the road – Phnom Penh]
  • [The head of the Directorate of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts] Mr. Sin Chanchhaya [son of the well-known signer Sin Sisamut]: The Reason Why Khmer Films Cannot Progress, Is that Film Productions Are Made by Non-Professional People
  • Because of Losing Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15], a Cruel Man Got Angry with His Wife and Hit Her to Death [he was arrested – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5022, 16.10.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Decided to End the [defamation] Case against the Prime Minister [saying that she will not appeal to the Supreme Court]
  • Queensland Police [of Australia] Donates [five] Speed Checking Devices and [thirty] Alcohol Checking Devices to the Cambodian Police

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1809, 16-18.10.2009

  • The Opposition Parties and a Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Said that if a New Demonstration Law [limiting the number of people to less than 200 to assemble at a public place with permission from the authorities, to be applied for at least 12 hours before] Is Not Corrected, It Would Be Just a Tool to Cheat about the Implementation of Democracy in Cambodia

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More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions – Friday, 6.3.2009

Posted on 10 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

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

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian microfinance officials said that the number of citizens getting loans from microfinance institution in Cambodia belong to over one million families among the more than three million families in the country.

“The director and general manager of the Microfinance Institution Sthapana Limited, Mr. Bun Mony [also a member of the board of the Cambodian Microfinance Association], told journalists at the Hotel Cambodiana on Thursday morning that in 2007, there were 18 microfinance institutions with a total capital of US$271 million, providing small-scale capital for Cambodian citizens. In 2008, capital to lend to citizens rose up to US$437 million, which was an increase by 61%. He added that this growth had increased for several years between 60% and 80%.

“He went on to say that at present, more than one million Cambodian families have received loans from different microfinance institutions – counted in December 2008. Among one million families, he assumes that in every family involved, each one receives capital for family supplies; recent figures shows that there are more than three million families in Cambodia. He continued to say, “According to my own calculations, 35% of Cambodian families gain benefits from microfinance.’

“Regarding the global economic crisis, Mr. Bun Mony said, ‘In 2009, we face a somewhat tense situation when we try to expand our loan programs. We cannot expect to achieve 50% to 60% growth like in previous years, but the expansion will decline to only between 10% to 20%.’ He explained that this problem relates to the sources of capital, because we do not yet have enough capital ourselves, while big countries are facing a crisis. It leads also to a slowdown for our country.

“Mr. Bun Mony explained the extent to which the financial crisis affects loan distributions, saying that this crisis affects every country and it affects also Cambodia. As for the microfinance sector, it is heavily affected, because around 80% of the present capital sources from which loans are received for citizens to develop the economy come from foreign countries. While even economically rich countries have a crisis, we are affected. That means we will face difficulties to seek additional sources of capital to strengthen our microfinance activities.

“He went on to say, ‘The difficulties that we are facing is to find sources of capital. Therefore, we have to do something to maintain the sustainability of capital sources, to support sustainable economic development. We all saw that we must strengthen our management to promote trust from the community of international investors, so that they trust the market in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Bun Mony said also, ‘All are challenged by this tense situation. Not only the citizens, also the microfinance institutions and the providers of capital.’ He added that before the financial crisis, 50 banks came to seek opportunities for investment in Cambodia – that is, they provided us loans, since they trust our microfinance systems: there are only 18 licensed institutions, but we have more than 50 capital providers.

“Mr. Bun Mony described what happened to this sector after Cambodia had new financial regulations [requiring a higher cash retention rate]: ‘After we had this new financial regulation, there was no operator saying that they have loans for us.’

“Regarding what the government did to help this sector, Mr. Bun Mony said that previously, he had asked the government to ease restrictions on the local sources of capital, but the government found it difficult to help us. He added that microfinance institutions are absolutely private sector institutions.

“Relating to aid from the government, he said that he received no response from the government, because he had never raised it to the government.

“The chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Microfinance Association, Mr. Huot Eng Tong, said that in the present global financial situation, the microfinance sector is suffering serious impacts. ‘Anyway, I strongly hope that the finance sector will receive support from all sides to encourage microfinance institutions to achieve further development and success.’

“Mr. Huot Eng Tong added that this sector plays a crucial role to develop the country, to help Khmer citizens to create, expand, and improve their economic activities, in agriculture, and in population centers and in rural areas, to offer citizens job opportunities, to alleviate poverty, and to provide cheaper financial resources at rural areas than the bigger private sectors do, the institutions with higher interest rates.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #131-132, 5-6.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Apologizes [to the public] for the Late Closure of Gambling
  • Samdech Prime Minister: [former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Will Be the 10th Deputy Prime Minister [heading drug control administration]
  • Asian Human Rights Committee [based in Hong Kong]: Cambodia Should Have an Organization’s Law
  • Cambodia Will Create the Position of a Military Attaché at the [Cambodian] Embassy in the United States of America [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Two Men Raped a 13-Year-Old Girl and Left Her Get Lost in the Forest [police have not yet arrested the two men although there are indications from the victim’s family – Kompong Thom]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1890, 6.3.2009

  • The European Community Announces New Aid to a Food-for-Work Program in Cambodia [worth approx. US$17 million]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6595, 6.3.2009

  • USAID Provides US$21 Million to Promote Economic Growth
  • Preah Vihear Authorities Start Building Steps to the Preah Vihear Temple
  • In the Northeast of Thailand Is Khmer Surin

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

  • More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions
  • The National Assembly Will Restore Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • Two Months in Early 2009: 16 Factories Closed, 11 Factories Opened, and 16 Factories Suspended Their Work
  • The Korean Ambassador [Mr. Shin Hyun-Suk – 신현석, 申 鉉 錫] Said that despite the Global Economic Crisis, Korea Still Helps Cambodia
  • Ten US Private Companies Come to Check Potential for Future Investment in Cambodia
  • A Man Killed His Colleague and Wrote a Note before Escaping [saying that he killed in self defense, and that he will commit suicide – police are seeking him – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Criticizes Israeli Plan to Demolish Many Houses of Palestinian Citizens

Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8009, 6-8.3.2009

  • [The Director General of the National Police] General Net Savoeun Digs Out Big Criminal Cases Again [it is not mentioned which ones]; Samdech Hun Sen Sets Two Important Strategies to Reform the National Police Institution [1. Reduce crimes to control social security, and 2. Reduce inactivity of police which makes people not to trust police competence]

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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