– Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
– Our Dear Compatriots,
Today, it is my great pleasure to announce the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the cement factory in Bantey Meas District of the Kampot Province, which is financed by the investment budget of Kampot Cement Co., Ltd., a joint Cambodian-Thai company, to produce cement for both inside and outside country demand.
The ground-breaking for the construction of the cement factory today at the Phnom Totung, Touk Meas Commune, Bantey Meas District, Kampot Province, emphasizes not only the strong confidences of the private investors in Cambodia but also highlights the progress in partnership between government and private investors. Furthermore, such investment to build the cement factory today shows that nowadays our local companies are more and more capable to make big investment and can contribute together with the government in some key technical sectors.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to extent my complements and appreciation to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy and call for their continued efforts in promoting business cooperation among private companies in developing other sectors. On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to profoundly admire Kampot Cement Co., Ltd., for the trust in the investment environment in the Kingdom of Cambodia by investing 182 million USD for this cement factory.
Through the report made by H.E. Mr. Suy Sem, Minister of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, during the previous seven years after Cambodia had attained full peace and stability, the construction of buildings and other infrastructures have been rapidly expanded and the needs for cements have gradually increased from 656 thousand tons in 2000 to 1 million tons in 2005. The forecast shows that the demand for cement in Cambodia could reach 1.6 million tons in 2006 and will increase further to 2.7 million tons by 2012. However, all those required cements will have to be imported from abroad to satisfy our domestic market demand.
At the same time, starting from 1997 even though the Royal Government has in principle approved investment projects for some companies to build cement factories in order to promote domestic industrial sector by attracting local and international companies to invest in industrial sector and to use local raw materials, until present no factories have started their operation, this also includes the cement factory which is now under construction by the Thai Bunrong Company in the area of Phnom La-ang, Kampot Province, though the company plans to start their production in 2007.
The Royal Government has been paying attention to the construction sector and considers it as one of the key sectors and a driving force to promote the development of other sectors. Moreover, the government clearly understands the development of construction sector, in particular building of cement factories requires huge investment; resources from government, donors and other funds may not be sufficient and requires participation from private sectors. Within this framework, private sector is indeed an “engine of economic growth”. Thus, the government policy towards the construction sector is not only open for and to attract private companies to invest, but the government also exerts its efforts to create conducive environment and confidence for investors.
In fact, experiences in development of construction sector, especially experience in providing investment concession to private sector shows us that the investment ability of the investors and appropriate framework and environment for business activities provided by the government are important for success. Thus, to ensure accountability, transparency, justice and mutual benefits, including ensuring safety of investment, the Royal Government has issued a sub-decree and other rules and regulations consistent with existent law to ensure the quality of governance, transparency and efficiency. This process is a big step for the Government of Cambodia to reform the industrial sector in order to create appropriate environment and private investors’ confidence in doing business and investing in Cambodia.
Regarding the relationship with private sector in implementing investment projects, I would like to advice to the concerned institutions which are responsible and have coordination and facilitation roles to make efforts to strengthen partnership to make it smooth and effective between private sectors and government, any intervention must to be proceeded with rational and comprehensive balanced view. In working with private sector, relevant institutions shall firmly adhere to the laws and regulations, including effective support and facilitation in order to further promote partnership and confidence between private sector and government.
Moreover, in order to improve business environment for private sector, the Royal Government will continue to strengthen its legal framework, regulation and institutional capacity to facilitate commercial and investment activities as well as for establishing partnership between private companies and public enterprises in order to gain mutual benefits.
The investment on the construction of cement factory of a joint Khmer-Thai company at Phnom Totung, Touk Meas commune, Bantey Meas district, Kampot province is another important proof of an increase in private investor’s confidence on the situation and future prospects of development in Cambodia. This is the right type of investment with mutual benefits, serving the objectives which are the priority needs of our country.
Indeed, the investment on this construction of cement factory is done in accordance with the political willingness of the Royal Government in enhancing domestic investment as well as foreign investment aiming at enlarging the economic growth base in Cambodia through providing employment opportunity for the people and promoting domestic production development by using the existing raw material, especially encouraging technology transfer and human resource development. At the same time, I would like to also stress that the main objective of the Royal Government is to focus on taking care and welcoming domestic investment which represents inexhaustible and sustainable resources in enhancing the development of private sector in Cambodia. That is why the Royal Government always promotes the participation of domestic investors for a sustainable development to cope with external crisis. The participation of our investors in the development is an important factor which shapes the direction of development that we have all desired and the achievements from those developments belong not only to the Royal Government but our people. Therefore, without the participation from private sector, any development would definitely face with obstacles.
Cambodia is a prime location for investment of ASEAN and it has also had a good cooperation with all member countries. With a market of about 500 million people in ASEAN, sufficient transportation, peace and security, incentives for investment, cheap labor, matured politics and the efforts made by the Royal Government in achieving the core of “Rectangular Strategy”, Good Governance, make me believe that Cambodia has met the criteria for long-term investments.
The effort made by Cambodia during the last two decades has stumbled with many difficulties including both internal and external pressures. For instance, the accession into the WTO represents both as opportunity and pressure to the Cambodia economy. Indeed, this has put Cambodia under intense competitive environment and a pressure which we must overcome for our common victory. Once again, I would like to stress that economic development is not the job of the Royal Government alone. In the “Rectangular Strategy” as well as the “National Strategy Development Plan” (2006-2010), the Royal Government has clearly determined its development partners, especially the private sector. The Royal Government considers the private sector as the main engine of economic growth. That is why the Royal Government has always opened the“Government and Private Sector Forum”, to identify difficulties, challenges and experiences of the private sector in order to issue effective policies as the facilitator and to improve this sector with quality.
In the recent time, Cambodia has a matured politics current which made political risks which are the basic point of investment decision fall at a noticeable rate, and I believe that the future development of political sector will be done sustainably and consistently with the national economic development as a core. Another important factor is to maintain every single investor, who have come and invested here, stay here for long time by making two distinguished divisions including the departure of foreign investors and the bankruptcy of domestic investors. Foreign investors play an important role in enhancing the development of the economy through the creation of fund, employment and growth and the transfer of new technologies into Cambodia such as the information technology sector. The Royal Government has issued many policies in order to facilitate trade by means of attracting more flows of trade freely through the construction of economic infrastructure including roads, bridges and ports. As for the development of domestic private sector, the Royal Government has issued policies to promote the growth of small and medium enterprises, especially, make them sufficient for competition.
In sum, all outcomes that we have achieved currently are important for trade facilitation and they also reflect the investment climate and the development of private sector in Cambodia. The Royal Government places equal value between domestic and foreign investments in accordance with the policies that have been laid out. With the construction of this cement factory as a proof, the Royal Government is trying to further improve the investment climate for foreign and domestic investors in order to accelerate the ship of Cambodian economy toward regional and the world competition.
Finally, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen with Five Gems of Buddhist Blessings.May I now announce the official ground-breaking for the construction of cement factory which will be done within the framework of private investment of a joint Khmer-Thai company from now on.