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25 investment sub-committees set up

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Emerging buildings in Preah Sihanouk province in January. Heng Chivoan

25 investment sub-committees set up

The private sector lauded the establishment of the 25 Capital-Provincial Investment Sub-Committees (CPISC) to review and approve private investment with capital under $5 million and resolve disputes related to investment projects.

On June 20, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a sub-decree on the establishment of the CPISCs as units of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), which has eight chapters and 13 articles, relates to the administrative staff for the capital and provinces, and replaces the analogous investment sub-committees.

According to the sub-decree, the Phnom Penh and provincial subcommittees are obliged to be chaired by the respective administrative region’s governor, with the deputy governor as deputy chairperson.

Members of the sub-committees will comprise directors of relevant departments, at the discretion of the respective municipal or provincial administration.

The CPISCs, within respective capital and provincial administrations, will now be able to review and approve registrations, incentives, guarantees, mergers, sale and purchases, cancellations and dispute resolutions of private investment projects under $5 million. Larger ventures must pass through the CDC’s Cambodian Investment Board (CIB), however.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that they had previously requested for an adjustment to the amount of capital investment that the CPISCs could approve, which would be in accordance with the new investment law.

At that time, the private sector asked that the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) authorise the CPISCs to approve capital investment projects worth $10 million or less.

Heng said allowing the CPISCs to approve investment projects totalling $5 million or less is good, as previously only projects with a capital investment of $2 million could be approved by the provincial sub-committees.

“The larger the volume of foreign investment, the greater the responsibility for the CPISCs to approve investments, making provinces more attractive to investors,” he added.

The sub-committees’ role would also enable factories to be located closer to raw materials and other resources while creating jobs for people in the area.

“This would relieve the concentration [of investments] in the city,” Heng commented.

He shared that the CDC recently approved a number of non-garment investment projects, including large and medium-sized industries, such as car tyre factories and auto assembly plants.

In this instance, the mining sector, which has seen increased investment in the provinces, is a new economic pole that could see Cambodia moving away from huge reliance on the garment sector, Heng noted.

Meanwhile, Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, found that the sub-committees are a welcome working mechanism which would expedite approvals, enabling efficient review processes.

Vanak said the decision to set up the sub-committees would provide more benefits and opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors to obtain investment permits in the capital or the provinces.

“It is a good mechanism for the leaders in the capital and the provinces to step up efforts to attract investors to their jurisdiction,” he said.

Vanak added that the delegation of authority to the sub-national level will strengthen the competency level of leaders in the 25 first-order administrative regions, as each province will play a more important role to boost development in their respective territories.

Between January 1, 2022 and June 17, the CDC has announced its approval of final registration certificates for 85 investment projects with a total capital investment of about $2.8 billion, according to The Post’s calculations based on the council’s notices.

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