Cambodia's tax revenue in the first four months of 2022 is expected to reach nearly 50 per cent of the goal set by this year’s Law on Financial Management, with first quarter revenue collected reaching just over 44 per cent, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Law on Financial Management for 2022, requires the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Taxation (GDT) to collect $2.820 billion in revenue this year.

Speaking at a Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports meeting on April 27 reflecting on 2021 results and setting the 2022 agenda, Hun Sen said that effective control of the Covid-19 outbreak and a high rate of vaccination against the disease have strengthened Cambodia’s herd immunity, which has led to the Kingdom maintaining socio-economic stability and relaunching production lines promptly and efficiently.

He said he was “very pleased” with what Cambodia had achieved during the difficult period that was the Covid-19 crisis, especially the feat of a continuous increase in tax collected.

“We are proud that in the first three months of this year, the tax revenue has already reached 44 per cent of the plan … in just four months, the tax sector will have achieved up to 50 per cent of the Law on Financial Management for 2022. We will be able to achieve good results” for the rest of the year, he said.

“At the same time, export growth in the first three months of the year increased by 33 per cent, which is no small achievement. It has been made possible due to our good management of socio-economic activities and control of Covid-19, which has led to an immediate [positive] impact on production.”

Data from the GDT shows that the department collected $1.263 billion in the first three months of 2022, equivalent to 44.8 per cent of the goal set by the Law on Financial Management for 2022.

Exports for that period totalled $5.717 billion, according to data from the General Department of Customs and Excise.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the increase in tax revenue indicates that the Cambodian economy has begun to recover after stagnating due to the Covid-19 crisis.

He speculated that the increase in tax revenue may be due to a combination of factors including the rapid reopening of the country and the rebounding of the Cambodian economy, along with increased population income, clearer tax collection procedures and ease of paying taxes through digital means.

“Increasing tax revenue will boost the ability of the government to use the resources collected to develop the country and for other public investments,” he said.

However, he said the collection of tax revenue in Cambodia could still be further improved through updates in tax law – especially in the real estate and construction sectors, which he noted are constantly evolving and changing.

In 2021, the GDT collected $2.782 billion in taxes, or 124.02 per cent of the goal set by the Law on Financial Management.