Full story http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/private-sector-warns-government-high-costs-imperil-investmentPrivate sector warns government that high costs imperil investment
Private sector representatives are deeply concerned by the government’s inability to reduce the cost of doing business in the Kingdom, and they warned yesterday that the country would start to lose investors if the situation did not improve.
At a logistics forum hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce yesterday, investors and company managers called on the government to take immediate steps to lower logistics costs and issued dire assessments of Cambodia’s logistics situation, at times surprising the government officials who were invited to speak at the event.
Charles Esterhoy, president of the influential American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, said that officials needed to start acting on promises to reduce logistics costs for business operating in the country.
“[The government] has the full support of the private sector,” Esterhoy said. “The time for talk is over – it’s urgent that some action be taken.”
Tung Pham, the country manager for shipping and logistics giant MAERSK, said that if business costs were not lowered soon, he feared investment would move to other countries in the region.
Taro Tanzaki, the deputy managing director of Toyota Tsusho Corporation’s Techno Park in Poipet, went one step further. When asked directly whether his company would pull out of the country due to high costs, Tanzaki suggested it was a possibility.
“I need the chance to talk to my investors, but we are always concerned about logistics costs, especially unofficial fees,” he said. “If we can’t reduce these costs, there won’t be any more investment in Cambodia. The situation is quite serious.”
Private businesses have levelled similar complaints for years, but they appear to have picked up urgency amid a wave of populist policies enacted by Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of this year’s national elections. Labour costs have risen sharply as the minimum monthly wage for the garment sector has jumped to $170 this year, compared to $125 in 2014. The government has also floated plans for a new universal minimum wage to apply to all sectors and increased mandatory employer contributions for workers’ health insurance...