Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, my wife and I are extremely pleased to inaugurate the “ethanol” bio-fuel Factory in Ponghealeu District, Kandal Province, the investment of MH Bio-Energy Co., Ltd. of South Korea.
Today’s ceremony takes place right after the celebration of the National Independence Day and our big national traditional holiday, the Water Festival which were held auspiciously and delightedly. The people nation-wide have celebrated enthusiastically after the end of the old harvesting season and the commencement of a new one, at the same time when the government concluded its 3rd Mandate and continued the work of the 4th Legislature of the National Assembly. This makes this-year water festival celebration even more meaningful than the previous ones. Besides cultivating agricultural products and yields during the last two seasons, all the Cambodian people had also received many other main benefits from the progress and acceleration of our national economic growth.
Indeed, a big part of the above mentioned achievement is attributable to peace, land integrity and political stability that were absent for decades. Obviously, the foundation of peace, land integrity and political stability has enabled Cambodia to carry out reforms in all sectors aiming at human resource development, institutional capacity building, bolstering socio-economic infrastructure and creating favorable environment to attract both domestic and foreign investment with the objective to ensure high economic growth and poverty reduction. The 2-digit economic growth for the last 4 years had generated employment, raised income and improved production and productivity both quantitatively and qualitatively. The coverage and quality of public service have also been expanded and strengthened in order to meet the demand of the people.
Separately, this achievement has also promoted the industrialization of the economic corridor. Indeed, the contribution of industrial sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from 13% in 1993 to 28% last year, which reflected the rapid increase in investment in manufacturing. At the present, we have a total of 627 factories providing jobs for about 457,086 people.
Today’s inauguration ceremony is another achievement of our industrial sector. This factory will produce bio-fuel“ethanol” for exporting to the international market. This development coincides with the demand for new alternative source of energy in the world, which is facing the fuel crisis that is extracted from crude oil.
Until today, the history of extracting oil from the ground at low cost is almost at its end. Fuel price fluctuates constantly and the quantity of fossil oil is expected to shrink and could completely run-out. Facing all these challenges, world manufacturing in this century is moving toward utilizing renewable energy and other sources of bio-fuel instead of fuel from crude oil. Demand for bio-fuel increases gradually at times when the industrialized countries are formulating and implementing their energy security plan through reducing the use of normal fuel and promoting the alternative use of bio-fuel.
Despite being a small country, today Cambodia is able to make active contribution to ensuring such energy security. We have been implementing mechanisms and frameworks to promote the development of new source of energy in Cambodia.
The Bio-fuel factory of MH Bio-Energy Company is Cambodia’s first attainment to realize its plan to create an alternative energy source from “ethanol”. This factory will provide significant benefits to Cambodia’s economy, including income generation, enhancement of trade balance, and employment for our workforce.
However, I would like to draw your attention that the Bio-fuel factory is of significant benefit and strategic nature for Cambodia, in particular:
1. The investment and operation of this factory will represent an important step in technology transfer for Cambodia, that is for domestic capacity building for Cambodia in renewable and alternative sources of energy. In particular, training and capacity building will benefit many relevant stakeholders, ranging from farmers who will gain cultivation techniques and productivity improvement, to processing, refinery, ethanol production process as well as the management and marketing of the product in the international market and so forth. The implication of the training and technology transfer will be of significance to build and enhance Cambodia’s capacity to compete with other countries and to ensure national energy security in the future.
2. The ongoing operation and expansion of production capacity will multiply the benefits for our rural economy. Provincial farmers can plan cassava as their cash crops in addition to rice and other major crops, which will promote the diversification of agriculture sector and create an opportunity for rural farmers to make extra income. Indeed, the company currently has two branches in two provinces, one in Kampong Cham and another one in Battambang. The company should set up more branches in other provinces and assist farmers with the cultivation techniques to further enhance the rural economy.
To ensure the benefits mentioned above, which can contribute to socio-economic development of the country, all steps of production line must take into account high social and environmental sustainability. In my opinion, development must be in parallel with environmental protection, that is “Green Growth”; the opposite of “Growth First, Clean Up Later” ideology which can severely affect the environment and waste our time and money to restore all damages caused by pollution. In this context, I would like to instruct the company to pay particular attention and firmly commit to environmental sustainability by taking all available measures to protect the environment and prevent environmental pollution. The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy must take a leadership role, undertake strict measures to ensure that the factory complies with the Law on Factory Management and work closely with the company and other relevant organizations to strengthen the implementation of environmental protection policy, such as industrial waste management and pollution prevention or minimization caused by factories and handicraft-related activities. The Ministry must issue instructions on waste management and disseminate prevention or clean production strategy which is an innovative strategy to mitigate negative impact on environment and human beings caused by the production processes.
Along with this, all ministries and competent agencies must minimize unnecessary disruptions that can impact on the business climate of the industrial and handicraft sector in order to reduce the production costs of Cambodia’s industrial sector and to create a favorable business climate for industrial growth to compete in the region and the world. I believe that all relevant ministries and competent agencies will contribute actively to become good partners of the private sector to sustain the progress and new achievements in our economic sector.
Finally, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen and all compatriots the fourGems of Buddha’s Blessings; and may I now declare the opening of the “ethanol” bio-fuel factory of MH Bio-Energy Co., Ltd..