Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellency Lee Han Gon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea;
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Our Compatriots and Dear Students:
Today, it is my distinct honor and pleasure to join you all in this joyful ground breaking ceremony of the construction of 32.7 km section of the National Road 3 from Trapaing Ropov to Kampot, financed by the concessional loan from the Republic of Korea with the counterpart fund of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
In this auspicious event, on behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, may I express our profound gratitude to H.E. Lee Han Gon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and to the government and people of Korea for their continuing support, provided in terms of grants and low interest rate loans. This has indeed contributed to the development of various sectors, including the construction of this scratch of the NR3 from Trapaing Ropov to Kampot.
The process of implementing the rehabilitation program of this second section of the NR3 is the response to the RGC’s proposal, made in the ASEAN+3 Summit in Singapore in November 2000. This project is to link the first section of the NR3, starting from Veal Rinh, the intersection with NR4, to Trapaing Ropov. The project has been implemented under the WB loan and now has been completed more than 93%.
I would like to point out that the main objective of the rehabilitation of the entire NR3 is part of the Royal Government’s policy on infrastructure rehabilitation and construction, thus ensuring safe transport of people and supporting economic activities especially the transport of goods to Sihanoukville Port.
Moreover, the NR3 is an important road link for the development of tourism. In this sense, the NR3 will help boost active tourist-related activities in the coastal zones, while contributing to the increase of national income as this road links coastal and recreational sites of Kep City and Teuk Chhou Resort, which are among the most splendid recreational places in Cambodia. Indeed, the NR3 offers most access for maritime exchange of goods via Southern and Western part of Cambodia into Thailand. It also helps transportation of agricultural and industrial produces, fishery products and mineral resources from coastal areas to Phnom Penh, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as to other countries in the region. Finally, it helps facilitate transport and reduce transportation costs and time.
I strongly believe that after the completion of the rehabilitation process of this national road, people in Kampot Province and Kep City will be able to improve their export of agricultural and industrial products to foreign markets through Sihanoukville International Port with such low cost trasportation. This will lead to improved and enhanced livelihood of people in the region as well as facilitate connection with other regions throughout the country.
In the past, this region seemed to be isolated due to poor condition of the NR3, which was devastated by wars and flooding. For this reason, connecting this section of the road will speed up the rhythm of integration across Cambodia, achieving success in every sector of the Royal Government thrust to promote economic growth and livelihood of our people. This will free up Cambodian people from poverty and uphold the country’s reputation in the world arena. In particular, the rehabilitation of NR3 has attracted foreign investment for the reconstruction of cement phosphoric fertilizer factories, thus helping create more jobs and increased income opportunity for the people in Kampot and Kep as well as for those in neighboring regions.
The launching of this road construction comes in time when Cambodia has successfully settled the political stalemate since the general election of the third legislature mandate in July 2003. The new National Assembly and Royal Government have successfully taken office. The Royal Government has also been putting all its efforts in the rehabilitation and development of all sectors in order to improve the livelihood and welfare of our people. As stated in the “Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency in Cambodia”, I have announced during the first meeting of the Council of Ministers for the third Legislature on 16th July 2004 that the rehabilitation and improvement of physical infrastructure, such as national, secondary and tertiary roads and bridges in rural and remote areas, remain the priority strategy.
This will serve as an “Engine of Economic Growth” and the most effective mean to reduce the poverty among our people. This is because roads are the arteries of a country’s economy that contribute to enhancing economic growth, as well as ensure equitable distribution of income thus enhancing livelihood and reduced poverty among the poor.
The Royal Government strongly believes that “if we have roads, there will be hope!”. Having roads implies that the natural potentials, such as all the mineral resources, and agriculture and industry will be processed and developed by all means serving the interest of the nation. Moreover, other recreation sites will be easily accessed by both national and foreign tourists. At the same time, national and foreign investors will not be hesitated to invest. This is the main factor helping create jobs. In this sense, people will be able to transport their products to both domestic and international markets. Whilst, the construction of schools and hospitals for educating our children and caring for the people’s health will be quickly undertaken providing high quality services in response to the people needs.
To achieve all these goals, there must be participation and cooperation from all members and officials of the government, local authorities, civil society, local and foreign private sector and people from all walks of life of the whole society. Thus, generous assistance from all donors remains important factor and encouragement for us to use the excellent opportunities for the development and keep the momentum of the past achievements.
On behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to express my profound thanks to our friendly countries and donors who always provide all kinds of financial and other support for the cause of rehabilitation and development of the Cambodian economy and society, especially the renovation and reconstruction of transport infrastructure, which is key to promoting economic growth and enhancing stability and social development, with the aim to reduce the poverty among Cambodian people.
Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Government and People of the Republic of Korea for the valuable assistance provided to Cambodia!
I fully support the initiatives to develop transport infrastructure across the country, especially the construction of the 32.7 Km part of NR3 from Trapaing Ropov to Kampot. Thus, I am proud of all our collective achievements so far attained and our continued efforts in this area.
May I appeal to all people and the local authorities at all levels to continue good cooperation to facilitate the construction of this road to be highly effective. I would like to highly appreciate and encourage the management, officials, workers and employees of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, local authorities and other concerned institutions for their best efforts in ensuring success during the implementation of priority plans in the rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure. I would like also to express my profound thanks to the Export–Import Bank of Korea and the Korean Consultants International for helping secure this loan to be effective on time.
I would like to congratulate and encourage Kukdong Company, the contractor for the project, to use its best efforts and technical expertise in the construction of a high quality road. Finally, I would like to wish you all the five gems of Buddhist blessing. Now, may I declare the launch of this construction project./.