Cambodian PM Reaffirms Commitment to Tackle the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen reaffirmed the Royal Government of Cambodia’s commitment to tackle the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS 2020) held today under the topic “Restoring Prosperity in a Post Pandemic World.”

"It has been nine months since the whole world has fought against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created unprecedented crisis on societies and economies. Until now, despite impressive progress in vaccine development, there is no certainty of when the pandemic will end, and similarly, nobody can precisely estimate the impacts of the pandemic on all aspects of lives in each country. Socio-economic activities in most sectors have been affected, especially through measures that have been implemented to counter the spread of the pandemic such as lockdowns and travel restrictions," Samdech Techo Hun Sen said in his keynote address to the virtual summit.

For Cambodia, he continued, the Royal Government has effectively kept the COVID-19 pandemic under control. As of now, Cambodia has not recorded any case of community transmission and never reached a stage requiring a partial or complete lockdown of the country. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed brought several critical challenges in sectors such as textile, tourism, aviation, and other service industries.

In this regard, the Royal Government has released five rounds of measures, aiming at stabilising productions and businesses that supply both domestic and overseas markets, and especially sustaining the livelihoods of those who have been severely affected, he said.

The intervention measures include tax relief schemes, exemption of Social Security fund contributions, credit relief schemes, liquidity expansion, wage subsidies for workers and employees working in the garment and tourism sectors, special financing schemes to help rehabilitate and promote small and medium enterprises (SMES), skills training for affected workers and employees, and working capital financing programme that helps meet the demands of factories, enterprises, and businesses within the country, he pointed out.

According to Samdech Techo Prime Minister, in the aspect of social intervention, the Royal Government has implemented the Cash for Work Programme that will contribute to rural development and support farmers, through better community infrastructure and additional job opportunities during this challenging period. In addition, the Royal Government has implemented a cash-support programme that provides temporary assistance to the poor and vulnerable people, in an effort to sustain their livelihood throughout the crisis. In the education sector, after being shut down for a period of time, the Royal Government has released "The Strategy on Reopening of Educational Institutions", that requires educational institutions to implement mixed-learning methods, distance-learning through online systems and in-class learnings, through strict implementation of "social distancing" and other cautionary measures required by the Ministry of Health.

"Looking forward, Cambodia will implement appropriate and timely interventions, combined with strategic considerations through the implementation of public finance policies, monetary policy, and structural reform measures, aiming at achieving two priorities: (1) stabilising the socio-economic aspects by continuing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through increasing expenditures in the health sector and programmes that promote public health, stabilising business activities through provisions of incentives and tax reliefs, credit relief schemes, liquidity expansion, and sustaining the people's livelihood and job opportunities through the Cash for Work Programme, skills-upgrading and social assistance programmes; and (2) promoting economic growth through strengthening Cambodia’s competitiveness, economic diversification and structural reforms," he stressed.

"Overall to restore prosperity, we should altogether respond urgently and responsibly to overcome the challenging issues, along with fears that have been dividing up countries through the implementation of pragmatic strategies and actions aiming at strengthening the value of peace, dignity and solidarity with equal footing and mutual respects, in order achieve regional and global prosperity," Samdech Techo Hun Sen underlined.

In this sense, he added, each country should play more active and interactive roles in global governance in a flexible, constructive and responsible manner, especially to contribute to the global orders in order to maintain peace and security, the key prerequisites for trades and long-term sustainable and prosperous growth for the whole world.

"At the same time, we should continue strengthening the momentum of globalisation, which has significantly contributed to economic growth and created unprecedented conditions that promote poverty reduction and livelihood of people from all walks of lives. Indeed, in the globalisation trend, everything is connected and interconnected. In this context, we must ensure cooperative mechanism can maintain the spirit of open-mindedness and support for multilateral trade, by speeding up our social and economic interlinkages to support each country's development in a sustainable and inclusive manner," the Cambodian Premier said.

Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on socio-economic developments, he affirmed, the Royal Government has never slowed down its reforms in all sectors. In fact, the Royal Government has continually implemented in-depth reforms, aiming at solving the challenges being faced by investors and businessmen, in order to enhance Cambodia's competitiveness through easing and creating a favorable environment for businesses and investments in Cambodia. In addition, in order to capture at maximum the opportunities of IR 4.0, the Royal Government has formulated Digital Economy Policies and e-Government Frameworks.

“In this context, l am happy to recall that during the visit of H.E. Li Yong, Director-General of UNIDO, to Cambodia in 2017, a Joint-Declaration on a Programme for Country Partnership for 2018-2023' was signed in order to encourage industrialisation in Cambodia, wherein the current circumstances, we expects this Programme for Country Partnership to play an important role in supporting Cambodia's economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 crisis," said Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press