Cambodia Update: April 13, 2020

Cambodia Update | April 13, 2020
Authors: Jack Myint and Jacob Corfman
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Cambodia’s Response to COVID-19 

As of April 12 , there have been 122 confirmed cases and 1 probable case of COVID-19 in Cambodia; 85 linked to overseas travel, 36 locally acquired linked to cases confirmed in Cambodia or abroad, and 2 under investigation.The Government of Cambodia continues to take various measures to control the situation surrounding the pandemic.

On the economic front, US$800 million has been allocated to counter the impact of COVID-19 for a six-month scenario, and up to US$2 billion if it lasts a year or longer.  This includes a subsidy of 20% of the minimum wage contributed to workers in factories and in the hospitality industry affected by mass closures, government entities and owners of commercial properties have also been instructed to avoid contract terminations and evictions if tenants cannot afford rent and delay or reduce rents, and low-interest state loans of up to US$600 million have been allocated to prop up banks and MFIs. The General Department of Taxation has provided relief for impacted businesses; monthly exemption of payment, not filing of monthly tax for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agents from February to May, 2020, a tax holiday of six months to one year for factories in the garment sector affected by the pandemic and the EU's recent partial withdrawal of the Everything but Arms (EBA), suspension of stamp duty tax on property worth less than US$70K, and a minimum tax exemption provided to all airlines for a period of three months from March to May, 2020.  

Trade with neighboring countries remain open, where as many as 57 factories have closed due to a shortage of raw materials. Religious gatherings, including all events surrounding the Buddhist New Year celebrations, have been canceled and the issuing of tourist visas, e-visas, and visa-on-arrival have been suspended for one month, commencing March 30. Initial border closures went into effect on March 22 but were loosely enforced to mitigate the probability of riots among migrant workers stranded in Thailand. Re-closures issued on the March 30 have enforced lockdowns on the border. As of April 8, all individuals coming into the country will undergo a mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 days. This will include passengers by way of land, water ways, seaports, and airports.   

On April 10, a draft Law on the Management of the Nation in a State of Emergency (State of Emergency Law) to contain the spread of COVID-19 was adopted by the National Assembly, Cambodia's primary legislative body. It is expected to pass the Senate with no hurdles, and subsequently signed into law by the Head of State in a matter of days. The State of Emergency Law could potentially bestow the Cambodian government with sweeping powers and unlimited access to martial law to enforce an emergency, while vastly controlling the public’s online and offline activities such as monitoring all communications, controlling media and social media, prohibiting or restricting the distribution of information that could generate public fear or unrest, or that could damage national security. Additionally, the law stipulates punishment of up to a decade in jail for anyone found guilty of “obstructing authorities” or violating government measures in such a way that causes social unrest or threatens national security. Prime Minister Hun Sen strongly defended the legislation and said that while it was very unlikely it would be enforced, it was prudent to pass the draft law if such a situation were to arise that would necessitate the extreme measure.

Cambodia Announces Cabinet Reshuffle 

On March 30, the National Assembly of Cambodia approved the reappointment of four senior cabinet positions, the second time such an event has happened since 2016. In the Ministry of Justice, Seretary of State Koeut Rith was promoted to replace Ang Vong Vathana as minister. In the Ministry of Public Service, Secretary of State Prum Sokha replaced Pich Bunthin as Minister. In the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Chea Vandeth, a Takeo lawmaker in the National Assembly, was promoted to replace Tram Iv Tek as minister. Lastly, in the Ministry of Religions and Cults, Chhit Sokhon, former Preah Sihanouk governor and current secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, takes over Him Chhem as Minister. The four outgoing ministers were promoted to the rank of Senior Minister with no portfolio, effectively retiring them from day-to-day government tasks. Additionally, the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts was repositioned to become the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, with Senior Minister Cham Prasidh staying on to lead it. Cham Prasidh is a long time ally of Prime Minister Hun Sen and previously served as the Senior Minister of Commerce for 15 years. The Council will continue to monitor the scope and impact of the newly created Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
National Affairs
Government declares e-governance now a top priority amid pandemic
Parliament Approves Cabinet Reshuffle; Hun Sen Includes More ‘Active’ Ministers
Cambodia bans visitors from five countries in bid to curb Covid-19

ASEAN
Collective efforts needed for rebound in Asean’s growth, says AMRO

COVID-19
Cambodia orders mandatory quarantine for all incoming passengers
What’s in Vietnam’s New Coronavirus Assistance to Cambodia and Laos?
Cambodia temporarily bans all sports activities, gatherings
Cambodia closes massage parlours, health spas to curb virus
Further fiscal woes for tourism sector
Cambodia to cancel New Year celebrations

Defense & Security
$500 million a year spent on military equipment sees Cambodia fall behind in the Asean ranks

E-Payments
Cambodia records large spike in mobile business and e-learning application downloads

Energy
Commercial financing from MIGA for power transmission in Cambodia
Cambodia Halts Hydropower Construction on Mekong River Until 2030
Royal Group gets nod for 700mW coal fired power plant from National Assembly
Cambodia scraps plans for Mekong hydropower dams
Cambodia Chooses Solar Energy Over Damming the Mekong River
Fuel prices in Cambodia forecast to continue falling, KrisEnergy committed to first production

Financial Services
J Trust Royal and AIA Cambodia conclude systems integration work enabling advanced payables management technology for AIA Cambodia
Strong capital, liquidity in financial services
LYHOUR Microfinance Institution Plc. receives Banking License from National Bank of Cambodia
Wing hosts delegation to showcase latest e-payment facilities

Food & Agriculture
Cambodia to suspend fish exports
Cambodia must boost agricultural output, says Prime Minister Hun Sen
Trade restrictions on food exports due to the coronavirus pandemic
Cambodia to ban some rice exports April 5 due to coronavirus
‘Plenty of food’ for Cambodians during uncertain COVID times
Cambodia, Indonesia offer financial support to SMEs, people
ADB to expand aid to agriculture
IMF, CRF to cooperate on rice research and studies
Cambodian mangoes have ready market in South Korea
Drought hits agricultural production in Cambodia

Health & Life Sciences
Sanitisers, masks seized in nationwide crackdown
TOP NEWS: Cambodian Government Imposes Temporary Entry Restrictions into the Kingdom
Prime Minister Hints at Declaring State of Emergency; Criticizes Price Gouging
Approval granted for investment in production of face masks
GMAC appeals to stakeholders to join hands to tackle manufacturing woes caused by Coronavirus
National Bank of Cambodia’s new measures greeted warmly
Virus cases now upped to 12 in Kingdom
Cambodia Bans Entry From Five Countries, Records Two New Virus Cases
Cambodian Government Allocates Up to $2 Billion for Economic Fallout from Coronavirus
Ministry of Health releases statistics at annual congress
Zuellig Pharma acquires Cambodge to strengthen Indochina presence

ICT
Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19
Pandemic means that Digital 2020 postponed
Online-based sales urged for tax registration obligation
5G: Ministry proposes joint partnerships to maximise investment
Cambodia and Vietnamese enterprises adopt measures strengthen strategic collaboration

Infrastructure
Japan-Cambodia National Road 5 renovation project locked in
Cambodia halts Mekong River dam plans ‘for 10 years’
$800K dam deal inked to provide clean water
PM announces new National Road 10
Hun Sen launches $133M road from Pursat to Thailand’s Trat province

Travel & Tourism
Cambodia’s aviation sector hard hit by Coronavirus pandemic
‘Overstay’ charges might be waived
Aviation sector calls for government aid
Cambodia crowned best international heritage destination
Cambodia responds to coronavirus outbreak with temple ticket deals
Cambodia optimistic of exponential tourism growth and foreign arrivals after end of COVID-19
Cambodia’s famed Angkor sees 37 percent drop in foreign tourists in first 2 months
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

Government declares e-governance now a top priority amid pandemic Khmer Times 2nd Apr 2020
The Government has stated its commitment to making e-governance a priority during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure services remain timely and available, according to senior government officials. Cambodian Minister for Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth stated, building a digital government is now the main focus for the administration. Outlining that digital governance will create a stronger, smarter and more accountable government that can fulfil its role with efficiency for the people. Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce also said yesterday, that online-based working practices for government ministries and institutions will enhance the transparency of services, while also, saving time and particularly combat corruption.

Parliament Approves Cabinet Reshuffle; Hun Sen Includes More ‘Active’ Ministers VOA 30th Mar 2020
The National Assembly approved Prime Minister Hun Sen’s rejig of the council of ministers, the second such change since 2016, which saw four senior Cambodian People’s Party members sidelined for newer faces. The prime minister had sent a letter on Friday asking the National Assembly to approve the four changes to his cabinet, which was duly approved by the CPP-controlled lower house.

Cambodia bans visitors from five countries in bid to curb Covid-19 The Star Online 14th Mar 2020
Cambodia on Saturday (March 14) announced restrictions on visitors from five countries for a month in a bid to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease. "The Ministry of Health decided to temporarily ban foreigners from Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the United States from entering Cambodia for 30 days," Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a statement.

ASEAN

Collective efforts needed for rebound in Asean’s growth, says AMRO The Edge Singapore 8th Apr 2020
SINGAPORE (Apr 8): The Asean + 3 Macroeconomic Review Office (AMRO) has slashed its 2020 growth forecast for Asean + 3 nations to 2%, from its previous prediction of 4.9%. The macroeconomic watchdog which monitors Asean, Japan, China and Korea says the upgrade follows the uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it expects growth in the region to have a strong rebound to 5.5% in 2021 once the health and economic crises abate. Meanwhile, Asean economies are expected to weaken sharply to grow at an average of 1.1% before recovering to 5.2% in 2021. The data was unveiled by AMRO’s chief economist Khor Hoe Ee in an outlook briefing on Tuesday. Touching on how the data was arrived at, Khor said that preparations for this outlook forecast was “almost impossible”, despite this being the watchdog’s fourth iteration.

COVID-19

Cambodia orders mandatory quarantine for all incoming passengers Bangkok Post 8th Apr 2020
With as much as 66 out of the 115 infected with Covic-19 being imported cases who then went on to infect locals with cluster infections, the government has ordered the mandatory quarantine of all incoming people into Cambodia. This includes all border entries such as land, water ways, sea ports and airports through which many infected victims have come through.

What’s in Vietnam’s New Coronavirus Assistance to Cambodia and Laos? The Diplomat 8th Apr 2020
Late last week, Vietnam handed over some assistance to Laos and Cambodia as the two fellow Southeast Asian states continue to manage the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. While the development was in line with what Hanoi had previously signaled, it nonetheless put the spotlight on the dynamics of COVID-19 in mainland Southeast Asia which had belatedly come into full view after earlier speculation of underreporting in some countries.

Cambodia temporarily bans all sports activities, gatherings Khmer Times 8th Apr 2020
The Cambodian Government has ordered a temporary ban of all sports activities and gatherings in the Kingdom to stop the spread of Coronavirus. This was announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) in a press release issued on April 7. The MoEYS is the Government agency that governs all sports activities in the Kingdom.

Cambodia closes massage parlours, health spas to curb virus The Star Online 7th Apr 2020
Cambodia decided to temporarily close all massage parlours and health spas across the kingdom in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said on Tuesday (April 7). In a letter sent to governors of all cities and provinces, the minister asked them to take action to shut down all massage parlors and health spas from April 7 until a new notice.

Further fiscal woes for tourism sector Khmer Times 7th Apr 2020
The Government on Tuesday announced the suspension of the annual Khmer New Year celebration, in a bid to stop the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. The move will spell further fiscal woes for the already embattled tourism industry. Speaking during a press conference, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the decision was made in a bid to avoid “cluster infections”, caused by large gatherings in local communities. Cambodia is following the Thai government’s lead, which also postponed the country’s Songkran festivals.

Cambodia to cancel New Year celebrations The Star Online 7th Apr 2020
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday (April 7) declared the cancellation of traditional New Year celebrations, scheduled on April 13-16, in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. "I decided to suspend the celebrations of the Khmer New Year, and state and private institutions are required to work normally on the occasion," he said during a press conference on the latest situation on Covid-19 in Cambodia.

Defense & Security

$500 million a year spent on military equipment sees Cambodia fall behind in the Asean ranks Khmer Times 30th Mar 2020
The newly-released Global Firepower Index 2020 has put Cambodia 107 out of 138 countries for military strength. $500 million a year spent on military equipment sees Cambodia fall behind in the ASEAN ranks. The report outlines that while Cambodia has no shortage of experienced and battle-tested soldiers, its main deficiency is a lack of modern equipment. Cambodia is reported to have spent $20 million on arms purchases in China last year on top of the $200 million that it spent for similar purposes in the past. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that Cambodia intends to purchase L-39 trainer jets and light attack planes from the Czech Republic and China.

E-Payments

Cambodia records large spike in mobile business and e-learning application downloads Khmer Times 2nd Apr 2020
Mobile applications for remote business and e-learning tools recorded their largest spike in downloads on the Cambodian market last month for both the Android’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store platforms, according to monthly data sets released by the online research website SimilarWeb. The increase was attributed to the Cambodian Government’s closure of all educational institutions amid advice from private and public sector offices to implement work-from-home policies, to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Mobile applications are becoming an ever-increasing driving force for e-commerce in Cambodia, with the Kingdom recording over 25 million mobile subscriptions (representing 1.5 for each person in the country) with 76 percent of the country now having access to the internet, according to Global Web Index 2019 figures.

Energy

Commercial financing from MIGA for power transmission in Cambodia ESI-Africa.com 9th Apr 2020
MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, has issued guarantees that will support the refinancing of existing power transmission infrastructure in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and its surroundings. The move paves the way for commercial funding to replace financing previously offered by the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Malaysia EXIM).

Cambodia Halts Hydropower Construction on Mekong River Until 2030 Voice of America 9th Apr 2020
Experts in Cambodia have welcomed the government's recent halt on hydropower development on the Mekong River until 2030, but called on the government to focus on renewable energies.  The spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Energy's General Department, Victor Jona, told VOA on Tuesday that no further hydropower dams were needed on the Mekong River main stream for the next 10 years to meet energy demand.  

Royal Group gets nod for 700mW coal fired power plant from National Assembly Khmer Times 26th Mar 2020
THE National Assembly of Cambodia yesterday approved a draft provision of a state guarantee for three new power projects, one of which is a 700 megawatt (mW) coal-fired power plant investment to be undertaken by the Royal Group. All three power projects are contracted under a power purchase agreement with Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC). The agreement is a state guarantee that pays investors if the facilities fail to operate as per the purchase agreement.

Cambodia scraps plans for Mekong hydropower dams The Guardian 20th Mar 2020
A Cambodian government decision to postpone building new hydropower dams on the Mekong river has been welcomed by campaigners, who say it will provide welcome relief to the tens of thousands of people whose livelihood depend upon its rich resources.

Cambodia Chooses Solar Energy Over Damming the Mekong River Chiang Rai Times 19th Mar 2020
Cambodia will not develop new hydropower dams on the Mekong River for the next 10 years, a senior energy official said on Wednesday. The announcement comes as Cambodia reviews its policy to seek solar energy and also energy from coal and natural gas.

Fuel prices in Cambodia forecast to continue falling, KrisEnergy committed to first production Khmer Times 18th Mar 2020
Petrol and diesel prices in Cambodia will continue to fall this year due to global tensions, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay has said. Thay stated that the fuel prices in petrol stations will not exceed 3,610 riel (0.9 USD) per litre in 2020, while the price of diesel will not rise over 3,343 riel. He predicted that petrol prices continue declining in March.

Financial Services

J Trust Royal and AIA Cambodia conclude systems integration work enabling advanced payables management technology for AIA Cambodia Khmer Times 7th Apr 2020
J Trust Royal Bank (“JTRB”) and AIA (Cambodia) Life Insurance Plc (“AIA Cambodia”) has announced the successful integration of JTRB’s Core Banking System and AIA Cambodia’s Enterprise Resource Planning System (“ERP”) for Payables Management. This integration will bring to each and every one of AIA Cambodia’s vendors the benefit of using advanced payables management system in the market today. JTRB is making a significant investment in digitizing the Cambodian market. This includes technology that enables automation of standardized payment file exchange between customers’ ERP with Swift FileAct solution. AIA Cambodia is among the first of our customers to benefit from this integration project.

Strong capital, liquidity in financial services Khmer Times 1st Apr 2020
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has affirmed that commercial banking and finances have strong capital and liquidity although Novel Coronavirus outbreak is hitting the country’s economy. NBC’s director-general Chea Serey, told Khmer Times that at present commercial banks and microfinance industries (MFIs) are in a good position after the NBC imposed strict rules on being prudent during the good times.

LYHOUR Microfinance Institution Plc. receives Banking License from National Bank of Cambodia Khmer Times 1st Apr 2020
LY-HOUR Micro-finance Institution Plc. is a subsidiary of LYHOURGroup, consists of 8 companies such as LYHOUR Exchange Co., Ltd (1986), LYHOURPawnshop Co., Ltd (2010), Borey Vimean Phnom Penh (2011), Tepi Agro Investment Co., Ltd (2011), LYHOUR Micro-finance Institution Plc. (2012), LYHOUR Leasing Plc. (2015) LYHOUR Paypro Plc. (2016) and LYHOUR Insurance Plc. (2017), has recently received the Commercial Bank License from National Bank of Cambodia to operate banking business and provide widen financial services to the public. The economics’ growth and political stability is the key fundamental in building more confidence from the public and international investors as well as the strength and healthiness in banking system. Through NBC’s 2019 Report revealed that there are 46 Commercial Banks, 15 Specialized Banks, 7 Microfinance Deposit Taking Institutions, 75 Microfinance Institutions and other financial institutions that provide the financial services in the kingdom of Cambodia.

Wing hosts delegation to showcase latest e-payment facilities Khmer Times 16th Mar 2020
Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialized Bank recently hosted a special Government tour of its headquarters in Phnom Penh, demonstrating its facilities for mobile money and electronic payment services. The tour was led by the Chairman of Wing, Neak Oknha Kith Meng and Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC), who was accompanied by a 17-strong member delegation of senior ministry officials. The delegates were shown how Wing uses cutting-edge technology in the operation of digital payment solutions to enable e-commerce and e-governance to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s initiative for developing the Kingdom’s digital economy. Besides providing basic services like money transfer, bill payment, phone top ups, online and offline payments, Wing also offers outbound and inbound money transfer services to over 200 countries through its international money transfer partners. Looking to the future, Wing has been working to support Tinh Tinh, as an e-commerce platform payment gateway designed to ease online shopping nationwide. Currently, Wing agents are already attached to 28 post offices around Cambodia.

Food & Agriculture

Cambodia to suspend fish exports NST Online 8th Apr 2020
The Cambodian government has suspended all fish exports as it tries to stabilise domestic supply in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The move comes in the wake of the government’s decision last week to also ban the export of all padi and white rice.

Cambodia must boost agricultural output, says Prime Minister Hun Sen Khmer Times 8th Apr 2020
The prime minister has urged all stake holders involved in the agricultural sector in the country to boost and promote the vital agricultural sector as it will provide food for the country’s people as well as enable exports. Mr Hun Sen, speaking at a press conference at the Peace Palace yesterday instructed the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and other stakeholders to further greater attention to farming, livestock, fisheries and other products to boost its growth and help contribute towards the national economy while other traditional economic pillars are in the doldrums because of the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Trade restrictions on food exports due to the coronavirus pandemic KFGO 3rd Apr 2020
Cambodia will ban some rice exports to ensure local food security during the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday.

Cambodia to ban some rice exports April 5 due to coronavirus Successful Farming 30th Mar 2020
Cambodia will ban some rice exports starting April 5 to ensure local food security during the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday. The Asian nation is the latest country to curb food exports, although it is not a major rice exporter, exporting only about 500,000 tonnes a year according to government figures.

‘Plenty of food’ for Cambodians during uncertain COVID times Khmer Times 29th Mar 2020
A government ministry has reassured the public that there is no need to panic over potential food shortages amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking to local media, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Veng Sakhon declared that Cambodia has abundant supplies of staples such as rice, meat, vegetables and fish to meet demand within the country.

Cambodia, Indonesia offer financial support to SMEs, people The Cambodia Daily 18th Mar 2020
Cambodia’s State-run Rural Development Bank has approved a 50 million USD credit package for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are operating in agriculture. Speaking at a ceremony to announce the credit support package, Kao Thach, the bank’s Director General said more than 500,000 local SMEs could benefit from the fund to increase their productivity and improve their competitiveness.

ADB to expand aid to agriculture Phnom Penh Post 18th Mar 2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed to continue its financial and technical support for the government’s Agricultural Development Plan 2012-2023. The goal of the plan is to modernise the agriculture sector and increase yields to meet rising demand in the local market.

IMF, CRF to cooperate on rice research and studies Khmer Times 14th Mar 2020
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Cambodia and Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) have agreed to cooperate to undertake research and studies on the rice sector in the Kingdom. The agreement was made in a meeting between Mr. Chan Sokkheang, Acting President of CRF and Mr. Yasuhisa Ojima, newly-appointed IMF Resident Representative for Cambodia. In the meeting, the two sides shared views on a wide range of issues such as the contribution of the rice sector to the Gross Domestic Product of Cambodia, the CRF’s role in rice sector development, and the impacts of ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on the current and future situation which could affect Cambodia’s economy and rice sector.

Cambodian mangoes have ready market in South Korea The Star Online 12th Mar 2020
Cambodian mangoes are proving popular among South Korean consumers, the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) said, encouraging more local firms to export the fruit to the East Asian country. Speaking with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on Tuesday (March 10), Kotra director-general Jongsoo Shin said Koreans greatly enjoy Cambodian mangoes.

Drought hits agricultural production in Cambodia VietnamPlus 11th Mar 2020
People in rural areas in the Cambodian northwestern provinces of Pursat and Battambang have been suffering from water shortage for more than four months, reported the Cambodia’s Khmer Times. The article said agriculture is a driving factor for Cambodia’s economy, but despite having land and natural water sources, irrigation system development is lacking.

Health & Life Sciences

Sanitisers, masks seized in nationwide crackdown Phnom Penh Post 30th Mar 2020
The Ministry of Commerce’s General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention last week launched a campaign to check alcohol quality and mask selling prices at pharmacies in Phnom Penh and some provinces. It seized over 1,500 litres of counterfeit alcohol and advised the owners to stop selling the fake alcohol and counterfeit masks. The department’s director-general Phan Oun told The Post on Sunday that following the instructions of the Minister of Commerce’s instructions, the department had assigned officers to collaborate with its provincial officers to conduct the crackdown.

TOP NEWS: Cambodian Government Imposes Temporary Entry Restrictions into the Kingdom FRESH NEWS 28th Mar 2020
Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a press release on Saturday regarding travel restrictions issued by the Royal Government of Cambodia in relation to the Covid-19. “In order to reduce and contain the transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and in line with the measures taken by ASEAN countries, the Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to impose, in addition to the recent travel measures of the Ministry of Health of Cambodia, the following temporary entry restrictions into the Kingdom of Cambodia, effective from midnight of 30 March 2020”, the ministry wrote.

Prime Minister Hints at Declaring State of Emergency; Criticizes Price Gouging VOA 26th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday he was considering the possibility of declaring a state of emergency, though he said it in the middle of an irate speech criticizing price gouging. Speaking to volunteer doctors and healthcare professionals in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said the pharmacists still have time to decrease the price of face masks, adding they could lose their business license and that all masks would be confiscated from their shops.

Approval granted for investment in production of face masks Khmer Times 25th Mar 2020
The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has granted approval to HK Burltex Manufacturing Co., Ltd. to build a factory for producing face masks and all kinds of bags, according to the CDC’s statement released Tuesday. With an investment capital of US$3.1 million, the newly approved project will create 915 jobs for local people, it pointed out. The new factory will be located in Vattanac Industrial Park in Sangkat Kraing Pongro, Khan Dangkor, Phnom Penh. Phal Sophanith/AKP

GMAC appeals to stakeholders to join hands to tackle manufacturing woes caused by Coronavirus Khmer Times 25th Mar 2020
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has called for collaboration from all stakeholders in facing the critical situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic. “The current global pandemic Covid-19 has brought chaos to all our lives and businesses. To overcome this critical situation, GMAC would like to appeal to all stakeholders to join hands so that we can all survive together”

National Bank of Cambodia’s new measures greeted warmly Khmer Times 18th Mar 2020
The Cambodian Central Bank on Tuesday announced several new measures to facilitate and urge financial institutions to have stronger liquidity. The move aims to reduce the base cost of capital for each financial institution, enabling it to have enough liquidity to help it to decide whether to accept delayed payments from the customers. The NBC will delay the implementation of the Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) until next year, reduce the interest rate on the Liquidity-Providing Collateralised Operation (LPCO) up to 0.5 percent and decrease the interest rate for the Negotiable Certificate of Deposits (NCD). In addition to this, the NBC also reduced the interest rate of the reserve requirement to 7 percent for both local and foreign currencies for six months starting from April 2020. Before the interest rate on reserve requirement was 8 percent for riel and 12.5 percent for foreign currencies. It will reduce the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) to an appropriate level if it is necessary.

Virus cases now upped to 12 in Kingdom The Phnom Penh Post 15th Mar 2020
Health Ministry Authority cleans Canadian International School on Koh Pech. MOEYS Cambodian health authorities went on a race against time to trace passengers on a flight from Singapore to Phnom Penh after Frenchman Michelle Dizon Cruz, 35, was confirmed with Covid-19. While his wife is thus far clear of the disease, his four-month-old baby who flew with him has been tested positive and is receiving treatment at the National Pediatric Hospital, the Ministry of Health said in a press release on Sunday night. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on Friday banned all cruise ships and riverboats from entering the country. The next day, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport decided to close all schools in the capital and Siem Reap town until further notice.

Cambodia Bans Entry From Five Countries, Records Two New Virus Cases VOA 14th Mar 2020
Cambodia has banned entry of foreigners from Italy, Germany, Spain, France and United States for 30 days effective March 17th, as Phnom Penh recorded two more cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. A Ministry of Health statement released Saturday morning banned the entry of foreigners from the five countries, the first time Cambodia has introduced entry restrictions since the viral outbreak. However, officials have not enforced similar restrictions for other countries with high number of cases, such as Iran, South Korea, Japan or China.

Cambodian Government Allocates Up to $2 Billion for Economic Fallout from Coronavirus VOA 10th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday said the government had allocated between $800 million to $2 billion to address the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which had affected upwards of 80 countries and infected more than 100,000 people. Hun Sen said the lower end of the allocation would help deal with economic slowdown over the next six months, with the $2 billion expected to be needed if the outbreak lasted more than one year.

Ministry of Health releases statistics at annual congress The Phnom Penh Post 5th Mar 2020
The Ministry of Health held its 41st annual congress to promote public health on Tuesday, attended by more than 500 officials from the ministry, local authorities and 25 provincial and municipal health departments. The two-day event from March 3-4 was held to exchange ideas among health officials about experiences, challenges and improvements in the healthcare sector to improve and promote public health. The ministry reported the results of a number of initiatives, including transmitted disease service delivery and the smoke-free ban.

Zuellig Pharma acquires Cambodge to strengthen Indochina presence BioSpectrumAsia 16th Mar 2020
Zuellig Pharma, a leading healthcare services provider in Asia, has announced that it has acquired a controlling stake in Alliance Pharma (Cambodge), a leading healthcare distributor of Cambodia. Alliance Pharma (Cambodge) has been providing international healthcare companies with a full range of services designed to facilitate access to the Cambodian market since 2001. Over the years, Alliance Pharma (Cambodge) has developed a full-scale WHO-GSDP certified distribution infrastructure for vaccines, cold-chain products as well as pharmaceutical products, operated by approximately 400 experts in distribution and sales & marketing. "We are excited to grow our presence in Cambodia. This acquisition will give Zuellig Pharma a market leading position in Cambodia, strengthen our presence in Indochina and offer a great platform for accelerated growth in Cambodia and in the region for Zuellig Pharma and its clients," said Yves Hermes, Area Director for South East Asia for Zuellig Pharma.

ICT

Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19 Phnom Penh Post 24th Mar 2020
Cellcard on Friday announced Cambodia’s first use of 5G for a telemedicine service at four locations across Phnom Penh to help the Kingdom’s most critically ill during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cellcard, which is the only 100 per cent Cambodian-owned and "Proudly Khmer" mobile network operator, has been serving the people of Cambodia since 1997. The service will see Phnom Penh’s leading doctors assess patients nationwide via video conference link to mobile phones and devices anywhere in Cambodia. The service can be used to connect to patients in their homes, in clinics or hospitals.

Pandemic means that Digital 2020 postponed Khmer Times 24th Mar 2020
The escalating health crisis that Cambodia is experiencing because of the Coronavirus outbreak has led to the postponement of several major business-related events supposed to be held this month in the Kingdom, including Digital Cambodia 2020. Digital Cambodia 2020, the biggest event for the Kingdom’s burgeoning digital sector this year, was supposed to be held from March 20 to 22 at the Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh. Close to 200 local and international companies involved in the digital sector and related fields were lined up for the event, which was expected to draw more than 30,000 Cambodians and foreign visitors.

Online-based sales urged for tax registration obligation Khmer Times 16th Mar 2020
As things stand, anyone can use Facebook to sell goods and services while paying a fee to the platform. Cambodia now plans to tax them like any other business. Online businesses – even individuals – using Facebook platform in Cambodia to sell products and services face being taxed like officially registered enterprises. Kong Vibol, director general of the General Department of Taxation at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, insisted any transaction involving a profit is  subject to register with the tax administration.

5G: Ministry proposes joint partnerships to maximise investment Khmer Times 11th Mar 2020
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC) has asked regulators to explore the possibility of small telecom operators jointly running as providers on Cambodia’s new 5G network. There are currently five providers who have conducted tests: Smart Axiata, Cam GSM (Cellard), Metfone, the South East Asia Telecom Group Pte Ltd (SEATEL Group) and Kingtel. MPTC Minister Tram Iv Tek says the government wants the 5G network to be launched as soon as possible in the Kingdom.

Cambodia and Vietnamese enterprises adopt measures strengthen strategic collaboration Khmer Times 28th Mar 2020
Viettel Cambodia (Metfone), a subsidiary of Vietnam’s military-run telecommunications company Viettel Group and MB Cambodia, a branch of Vietnam’s Military Commercial Joint- Stock Bank (MB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a five-year strategic partnership of cooperation to strengthen their development in and contributions to Cambodia.

Infrastructure

Japan-Cambodia National Road 5 renovation project locked in Khmer Times 25th Mar 2020
The Japanese and Cambodian governments have inked a financial cooperation agreement for the renovation of National Road 5 spanning 366 kilometres from Kandal province’s Prek Kdam area to Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet city. The project will be funded through soft loans provided by the Japanese government. A joint statement from the Finance Ministry and Japan International Cooperation Agency said the project is divided into three sections. The first section covers 84 kilometres from Battambang to Serey Sophorn cities. The second covers more than 146 kilometres from Thlea Ma’am to Battambang city and from Serey Sophorn city to Poipet city while the third section covers over 135 kilometres from Prek Kdam bridge to Pursat province’s Thlea Ma’am.

Cambodia halts Mekong River dam plans ‘for 10 years’ Bangkok Post 18th Mar 2020
Electricity-starved Cambodia will not develop new hydropower dams on the Mekong River for the next 10 years, a senior energy official said on Wednesday, as it reviews its policy to seek energy from coal, natural gas and solar. The decision means that neighbouring Laos, which has opened two new dams on the mainstream Mekong in the past six months, is the only country in the Lower Mekong Basin planning hydropower on the river that sustains some 60 million people. Victor Jona, director general of energy at Cambodia's Ministry of Mines and Energy, told Reuters the government was following a study done by a Japanese consultant that recommended Cambodia seeks energy elsewhere.

$800K dam deal inked to provide clean water Khmer Times 11th Mar 2020
The Chinese-owned Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Project Co will start construction of an $800,000 overflow dam in Prek Kampong Bai, Kampot province. The project will provide a supply of water to be held for treatment at a plant in Kampot and flow through the hydropower dam in Kamchay. In addition, the government aims to give access to clean water to everyone in the country by 2025.

PM announces new National Road 10 Khmer Times 10th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen has revealed plans for the construction of a new highway, National Road 10, from Battambang to Koh Kong province. When combined together, the strategic routes will create an important economic corridor between Cambodia and Thailand, the premier believes. The construction cost $132.8million and was funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, together with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Compensation Fund for tackling the impact of Unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance and construction.

Hun Sen launches $133M road from Pursat to Thailand’s Trat province The Phnom Penh Post 10th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday inaugurated National Road 55 which cost $133 million to build. The 182km road is funded by the Chinese government with contributions from Cambodia to clear mines and unexploded ordnance. He also announced the construction of National Road 10. National Road 55 links from National Road 5 in Pursat provincial town to the province’s Thma Da commune, which borders Thailand’s Trat province. Hun Sen said in future, the government will make efforts to open the Cambodian-Thai frontier through the Thma Da entrance to aid the import and export of goods between the two countries and raise the people’s standard of living.

Travel & Tourism

Cambodia’s aviation sector hard hit by Coronavirus pandemic Khmer Times 26th Mar 2020
Cambodia has recorded a staggering 40 percent decline in flights coming in or going out due to COVID-19. Of the three international airports, Siem Reap is the worst hit as international flights has all but dried off with many countries going into lock down mode. Overall, the number of international flights to and from Cambodia’s three airports in March is forecast to fall by around 40 percent compared to that in December last year since the COVID-19 outbreak.

‘Overstay’ charges might be waived Khmer Times 25th Mar 2020
Flight cancellations at Phnom Penh International Airport earlier this week. People who overstay their visas may have the daily $10 fine waived, say authorities, until the coronavirus pandemic is over. Sok Phal, Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry, has exclusively told Khmer Times that he is seeking approval from the Minster of the Interior Sar Kheng to waive overstay fines for tourists stranded in the country due to the ongoing severe disruption to flights caused by COVID-19.

Aviation sector calls for government aid Khmer Times 18th Mar 2020
The country’s main airport company, Cambodia Airports, has called for a “global and comprehensive plan” to aid the ailing aviation industry. The knock-on effect of the tumbling numbers in flight bookings into Cambodia, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has lead to  “sizeable slowdown” in revenues, according to Khek Norinda, Director of Communication and PR for Cambodia Airports, which represents three international airports, including Phnom Penh International Airport.

Cambodia crowned best international heritage destination Khmer Times 13th Mar 2020
The Kingdom of Cambodia has been crowned the Best Destination – Heritage (International) by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA), according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism. Cambodia is among the 13 destinations recognised by PATWA as the best destinations in different categories.

Cambodia responds to coronavirus outbreak with temple ticket deals The Star Online 7th Mar 2020
Visitors to Cambodia's world-renowned temples are being offered special deals amid dwindling tourist numbers caused by the global spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. To boost dipping tourist numbers prompted by the virus outbreak, Cambodia is offering travellers extra days to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat complex and surrounding temples for the same price. A one-day ticket to the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, priced at US$37, will be valid for a two-day visit now till June 25. Three-day passes, which cost US$62, will now be valid for five days in the park, while seven-day passes costing US$72, will be good for a 10-day visit. The four-month park pass incentive was intended to facilitate tourism, a key sector in the small South-East Asian nation, and "ensure the attractiveness" of the temple complex amid the Covid-19 public health crisis, Angkor Enterprise said in the statement on Tuesday.

Cambodia optimistic of exponential tourism growth and foreign arrivals after end of COVID-19 Khmer Times 4th Mar 2020
The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia is expected to double after the end of the deadly COVID-19, Ministry of Tourism said. Cambodia’s tourism industry has been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak since late last year and the country has introduced measures and work plan to restore the sector, especially in Siem Reap province, a major tourism destination. “After COVID-19 ends within the next four or five months, the number of foreign visitors to Cambodia would increase twofold or threefold,” Tith Chantha, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Tourism, said at a press conference.

Cambodia’s famed Angkor sees 37 percent drop in foreign tourists in first 2 months Khmer Times 3rd Mar 2020
Cambodia’s famed Angkor Archeological Park received 341,494 foreign tourists in the first two months of 2020, down 37 percent over the same period last year. The ancient park made gross revenue of 16.2 million U.S. dollars from ticket sales during the January-February period this year, also down 35 percent over the same period last year, said the state-owned Angkor Enterprise in a statement. The arrival of Chinese tourists had almost dried up with a mere two percent arrivals during the said period. The decline was due to the impact of the COVID-19. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced last week that the government decided to provide tax breaks for all hotels and guesthouses in northwestern Siem Reap province—the home of the Angkor Archeological Park—for a period of four months from February to May.