The government has issued its ninth round of economic relief measures for the private sector, amid mounting socio-economic pressure triggered by an alarming upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

The support measures centre on the severely-hit textiles, garments, footwear, travel goods and tourism sectors, aiming to keep businesses afloat in the third quarter of this year as the pandemic drags on, according to a government statement on June 30.

The government in July-September will continue to provide $40 per month to workers in these sectors as part of its cash handout programme amid the pandemic.

Factory owners must add $30 to the handout, increasing the total disbursement to $70. On the other hand, employers in the tourism sector are encouraged to voluntarily provide as much money as possible.

Additionally, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agents registered with the General Department of Taxation will be exempt from taxes for the third quarter, but are still required to file their tax returns and use the online e-VAT system to manage their value-added taxes (VAT) each month.

The exemption, however, only applies to tourist businesses in Kampot, Preah Sihanouk, Kep and Siem Reap provinces, Phnom Penh, Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town and Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin said the ninth round of measures would help tourism businesses weather the harsh Covid storm.

“These safeguards could cut down a portion of the costs of businesses in the tourism sector, in particular, for workers who continue to receive allowances,” she said.

The government has also extended the minimum tax exemption for domestically-registered airlines and allowed them to defer civil aviation fee payments, in July-September.

The fresh round of measures will also extend a hand to the transport and logistics sectors, by waiving the payment of customs broker licence fees for 2021-2022.

Logistics Business Association president Chea Chandara welcomed and voiced support for the government’s continued measures to alleviate some of the burden on the private sector during Covid-19.

He said the waiver of customs broker licence fee payments would trim the costs of all carriers, most of which have been hamstrung by the decline in business seen in the pandemic.

“The government has kept tabs on the private sector for quite a while, from the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 to the present day, so its measures have really helped reduce the costs for transport companies during this time,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Social Security Funds has granted employers the flexibility to suspend pension contributions until December.

The government will extend a cash handout programme to poor and vulnerable people affected by Covid-19, for July-September.

Further extensions will be based on a continuous assessment of the current socio-economic situation, the government said.