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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Report about Human Trafficking Released by US Department of State – Tuesday 6.1.2009

Posted on 7 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“Cambodia is a base and a target country for victims of human trafficking. Women and children are trafficked to Thailand and to Malaysia for sexual exploitation. Some Cambodian men migrating on their own to Thailand in order to find jobst fall into a situation where they are forced to do hard labor on fishing boats, at construction sites, and in the agro-industry. Cambodian women and children are trafficked to Thailand to work in exploitative conditions as household servants, and some are forced to serve as prostitutes. Some Cambodian men migrate to seek jobs, but when they returned from India, South Korea, or Malaysia, they said that they were forced to do hard labor and fell into dept bondage. Children are trafficked to Thailand and to Vietnam to work as beggars, candy sellers, flower sellers, and shoes-shine boys.

“Some Khmer women migrated to Taiwan to get married through international marriage brokers, but at the end, they were trafficked to work as prostitutes. Trafficking of woman and girls, also affecting Vietnamese people, happens also at the Cambodian border, from rural areas to Phnom Penh, to Siem Reap, and to Sihanoukville. Cambodia is a targeted country to send Vietnamese girls to work as prostitutes. Cambodia is targeted also by foreign sex tourists who want to have sex with children, and there are more and more Asian men traveling to Cambodia to have sex with underage virgin girls.

“Even though the highest standards for the elimination of trafficking have not been reached, the government is making remarkable efforts to fight such trafficking. Now [in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 that had been released by the US Department of State on 4 June 2008], Cambodia was ranked for the first time since 2004 on the Tier 2 Watch List [of three tiers], because the government stepped up cooperation to fight human trafficking in the previous year. The government created a special working group against human trafficking on the national level in order to improve the possibility to respond better as an international agency against trafficking, to improve coordination with civil society, to increase law enforcement activities against traffickers and colluding officials, and to increase protecting activities. In February 2008, a new Cambodian law to crack down on human trafficking and sex exploitation was promulgated and came into force. This law provides power to the police to investigate all forms of trafficking, and it is a strong measure to bring human traffickers to prosecutions. High ranking officials of the government publicly announced a ‘no tolerance’ policy for officials benefiting from or colluding with human trafficking.

“The report pointed out that the Cambodian government continued to implement laws against human trafficking last year. But in February 2008, a new Cambodian law to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation came into force. This law provides criminal penalties against all forms of human trafficking, including debt bondage, it states the punishment for wrongdoings which are sufficiently firm which will be applied against serious crimes such as rape. Because of insufficient resources, the government does not provide useful statistics about prosecutions made. The Ministry of Interior reported complaints received regarding 53 cases of human trafficking from April 2007 to March 2008. 35 cases were related to trafficking for sexual exploitation, with 60 victims, and 11 cases were trafficking for forced labor with 106 victims. Cambodian police had taken action on 43 cases. The Ministry of Interior went on to report that 65 traffickers were arrested during the period of this report, and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had conducted hearings on 52 traffickers.

“The Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department of the Ministry of Interior reported 52 cases involved with 65 traffickers which led to 8 prosecutions. Non-government organizations reported 19 cases of human trafficking for forced labor, related to legal migrant workers who were forced to be salves in Malaysia, but labor recruitment companies in Cambodia normally paid monetary compensation, so they were not convicted for their crimes. It has not yet been seen that labor recruitment companies were prosecuted for being responsible for trafficking migrant workers. In February 2008, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen ordered the Ministry of Commerce to cancel the licenses of marriage brokerage companies, as it was considered that such business is a form of human trafficking.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6544, 6.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Chakraval, Vol.17, #2839, 6.1.2009

  • Son of Prum Manh [a well-known Ayay joking singer] Drove a Care and Hit Two Motorbikes, Then He Tried to Escape, but Was Finally Caught by Police [on the Russian Boulevard, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1839, 6.1.2009

  • Mr. Sok Sareth Is Removed by the Royal Government from His Work of Deputy Governor of Banteay Meanchey to another Position
  • Anonymous Leaflets Describing Officials of the Ministry of Education Who Continue Beyond Their Retirement Age
  • The Owner of the Nightclub [where there was a fire killing 62 people] in Bangkok Is Accused for Criminal Negligence [about safety systems and for allowing underage people to enter the club]
  • Israeli Troops Lunch Land Attacks into Gaza [number of deaths of Palestinians tolls 510, Israelis less than 10]
  • Sri Lanka Troops Are Hunting Rebel Leaders in a Deep Forest Region at the North [after taking control of the Tamil tiger rebel capital of Kilinochi]
  • France Rescues Two Cargo Ships and Arrests 19 Somali Pirates

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #176, 6.1.2009

  • Experts Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Express Satisfaction about the Increase of the Rainy Season Paddy Rice Yield [they said that the yield will increase to 6 million tonnes, 500,000 tonnes more than in 2007]
  • A 20-Month-Old Girl and a 4-Year-Old Girl Were Raped by [two] Men Early January [one man involved in one of the two cases was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]
  • Chicken Feet and Bones with No Quality Are Imported by Merchants from Siam [Thailand – Poipet]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6544, 6.1.2009

  • Report about Human Trafficking Released by US Department of State
  • Drug Use Declines, but Spreads to Rural Areas; Formerly Drug Pills Were Used, but Now Drugs Are Abused by Using Syringes to Inject Drugs into the Blood
  • A Man Was Shot Dead when He Rushed to Help His Neighbor Who Was Being Robbed [six robbers armed with 1 stick, 4 short guns, and 1 AK Rifle are being looked for – Serei Saophoan, Banteay Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3658, 6.1.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Will Visit the Middle East in Order to Ask for Loans to Support His Government

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4787, 6.1.2009

  • National Co-Prosecutor [Ms. Chea Leang] Maintains Position to Not Accuse Additional Khmer Rouge Leaders
  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith]: Don’t Prohibit the Performances of the Opera ‘Where Elephants Weep’ – but Prohibit to Show It on Television
  • There Were 10,000 Cambodians Applying for US Visas in 2009 [4,400 for living in the United States of America, and 5,500 for visiting, study, and work]
  • Minister [of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, Mr. Chan Sarun] Asks Citizens to Produce Prahok in Time [when there are many fish – in the Khmer farming society, Prahok, made from fish, is an important food during the dry season; Prahok can be preserved for a long time]
  • More Than 2,000 Mobile Phones Were Confiscated in Pawnshops, but Were Returned Again to the Shops; however They Are Prohibited to Continue to Make Business [with mobile phones, as this may encourage to steal mobile phones to bring them to pawn shops – Phnom Penh]

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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