Archive for category Cambodia Economy

Hun Sen: No sign of crisis in Cambodia

By Vireak In

02 April 2009

After reading The Cambodian Daily, Wednesday 25 March title “Hun Sen: No Sign of crises in Cambodia”. In the article Prime minister said “I do not see any sign of crisis, I see cars, motorbikes and business.  I have not seen people abandoning their cars and motorbikes in the streets”. 

Reaksmey - 12 years old saleperson

Reaksmey - 12 years old saleperson

These kind of responses from the Prime minister make many including myself scratching our head.
Try to tell that to people like Reaksmey, a 12 years old girl who earn less then a dollar per day.  Now with less number of tourists visiting Cambodia, Reaksmey will earn even less per day.  Reaksmey told me that she wants to earn enough money so she can put it toward her education.  There are many unfortunate people like Reaksmey, but Cambodian people never blame anyone but themselves.  They don’t even know government can do something to improve their living standard or make law to protect market monopoly.

Is Cambodia immune to the global slowdown?

With the increasingly gloomy global outlook putting pressure on many leaders around the world to make decisive action, as listed in today Australian Financial review newspaper, here is what the Australian federal government says it has done for small business:

· Tax bonuses for low and middle income earners as part of the $42 billion stimulus package that it says many small business people will qualify for. Cost $12.2 bn
· Extra 30 per cent tax break on assets costing $1000 or more. Cost 2.7bn
· 20 per cent discount on the Pay As You Go income tax installment due in March. Cost $440 m in 2008-2009
· One stop-stop small business advisory services. Cost $46 m
· $4bn fund to support commercial property and tradepeople who service it.
· $14.7bn investment to build or upgrade schools benefiting small business
· On-time payment guarantee for new small business contracts worth up to $1m with commonwealth departments.  Payments will be made with 30 days.
· $1.5bn first home owners boost benefiting small business, independent contractors and tradepeople
· 711,000 new training places over five years.

As the G-20 summit approaching, many leaders gather the momentum and find ways to tackle the financial crises.  In the press conference yesterday, Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown said “Today, within months of this financial crisis, we are coming together to solve the common problems we face, we are cooperating to shorten the recession, and we are working together to protect and save jobs”. 

So what is so special about Cambodia a country of about 14 million, how can Cambodia avoid the financial crises?  Australia has the population of around 21 million, the current forecast of unemployment set to be 7 percents, the figure make many Australian MP open their big eyes.  The treasury is preparing the ground for a massive new burst of fiscal stimulus in next month.  Is the Australian government over reacting or the Cambodian government turn their blind eyes and ignore the plea for help from their people. 

In the same article, president Sam Rainsy party said “There will be serious effect in Cambodia, because the government hasn’t take any measures to resolve the economic crisis,  he added “the government should be cautious and take measures, but I have seen no measures”.  Why president Sam Rainsy feel the need for action, while the government seem to lay back.

As one observer put it, Prime Minister Hun Sen only travel in bullet proof car from his compound to another.  He never takes the time to meet real people like Reaksmey, or visit the shopping centre.  He always surrounding by body guards and advisors.

People like Reaksmey can not wait to see the time when the Cambodian government put their people before the interest of individual, until then people like Reaksmey will have a chance to live in dignity and can look up high.  Until then the government will feel the plea from their people either when the economy is up or when it is down.

We are waiting for that day!

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