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Travel ban repeal lifts private sector’s spirits

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Trucks are seen travelling past Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district on April 25. Heng Chivoan

Travel ban repeal lifts private sector’s spirits

The private sector welcomed the government's decision to reopen inter-provincial travel, saying the move will remove challenges brought about by the lockdown and lead to steady improvement in Cambodia’s economic activity.

Royal Government Circular No 53, dated April 25, ended an inter-provincial travel ban and closures of tourism resorts nationwide imposed on April 6 and April 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, especially over the Khmer New Year holiday.

“This does not apply to Phnom Penh or Kandal’s Takmao town, which remain in lockdown and under the jurisdictions of the Phnom Penh municipality and Kandal provincial administration,” said the announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on April 25 that reopening traffic in areas not designated as high-risk of Covid-19 transmission would alleviate some of the issues related to moving merchandise for the domestic market and for export.

Economic activity grows in tandem with travel, he noted.

This is what the private sector wants, because restricting people’s movement has a huge impact on the economy, with investors travelling and transporting goods from one region to another stuck, Heng said.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy said this was a “turning point” for goods transport, despite the limited scale of the reopening.

This is a smart and flexible strategy of the government to gradually allow economic activity in the country to resume. This is a positive sign for the transport sector, because if it is not possible to transport goods in and out, it may cause a lot of obstacles, he said.

He noted that the CLA obtained a number of permits from Phnom Penh Municipal Hall that made it easier for staff to schedule and transport goods, especially those to be exported.

On April 25, the governors of Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province said blockades would continue due to the large numbers of new Covid-19 cases reported daily.

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