Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Business world: Lockdown the ‘right thing'

Business world: Lockdown the ‘right thing'

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
On April 14, the government placed Phnom Penh and Kandal province's Takmao town under lockdown until April 28, and then extended the period to May 5. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Business world: Lockdown the ‘right thing'

The government was “very proactive” in locking down some areas to fight back against the rise of novel coronavirus infections in the interest of public health, despite inevitable short-term economic losses, the business community has said.

On April 14, the government placed Phnom Penh and Kandal province's Takmao town under lockdown until April 28, and then extended the period to May 5.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post that economic challenges aside, the lockdown was the “right thing” that any leader would do, flagging public health as top priority.

“The government decision is necessary despite the challenge of economic loss. Protection of public health to save lives is more important than anything else.

“What we have been doing are an on-time dissemination of updated regulations and measures with regard to the government lockdown decision for our members' effective implementation.

“Second, at the policy level, we work on wage policy and support allowance based on the principle of humanity, minimum service of logistics serving members nearby or outside the lockdown areas, and of more importance is the roadmap to reopening or post-lockdown measures,” he said.

Given the escalation in daily cases, with only limited testing, the lockdown is “imperative” to curb the outbreak, which is reaching disturbing levels, Anthony Galliano, the CEO of financial services firm Cambodia Investment Management Co Ltd, told The Post.

“This has always been a strategy of balance, keeping the economy breathing while containing the spread and the options available to the government are now greatly limited as transmission accelerates,” he said.

He explained that while the potential of a lockdown has been probable for weeks, it appears there have been some initial “teething pains” a few days in.

An essential service during the lockdown, according to Galliano, restaurant food delivery has been greatly restricted due to citywide travel constraints, an issue he said he hopes can be immediately addressed.

“While there was great optimism that the Kingdom would be barely impacted socially and economically during the first year of pandemic, that hypothesis has been significantly disrupted.

“Unquestionably the measures taken, the curfew and lockdown, are essential for the long-term security and safety of the nation. The government has acted absolutely correctly and in the best interest of the people,” he said.

But the government on April 25 lifted an inter-provincial travel ban and closures of tourist attractions across the country. Still, if Covid-19 cases rise, local authorities are authorised to impose lockdown on places highest at risk of spreading the contagion.

GMAC's Monika said workers and employees have received government support, and that the association has appealed to all factories to consider chipping in additional provisions.

“We called on all buyers to not penalise our members for not being able to comply with the originally agreed schedule of delivery.”

“It's already hit hard on our export. But what's even more challenging is the uncertainty and unpredictability of our future production in the coming months.

“We can soon start, partially or whatever, but it has to be with the assurance that our working environment is safe. Overall, it's a big complicated task, but I think together we can overcome this hurdle.

“I believe vaccination will be very quick with the additional force from the military side,” he said.

And the temporary economic setbacks come with a silver lining.

Asian Development Bank on April 28 projected that Cambodia's economy is forecast to grow 4.0 per cent this year and 5.5 per cent in 2022, as economic recoveries in major trading partners boost demand for the Kingdom's exports.

The bank said industrial production is expected to rise 7.1 per cent in 2021 and 7.0 per cent in 2022 on the back of a rebound in the garments, footwear and travel goods sector, as well as growth in other light manufacturing such as electronics and bicycles.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF