CAMBODIA (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The government has issued a plan to reduce electricity tariffs for companies in four key sectors — manufacturing, agriculture, commercial and service, for five months starting from June to encourage them to continue working during the spread of Covid-19.
A prakas from the Ministry of Mines and Energy signed by Minister Suy Sem on Tuesday said companies in the four sectors with locations in virus-affected areas or other favourable areas will receive the incentive.
Companies powered by the state-run Electricity du Cambodge (EdC), or private companies that purchase electricity from the EdC, will pay only for the electricity they consume.
Electricity bills are expected to be reduced by 25 per cent based on previous averages from January to March of this year.
Victor Jona, director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Energy, told The Post on Wednesday that the private sector has been hit hard by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have studied the impact of the coronavirus on the four sectors. This electricity exemption is an effort by the government to sustain the business operations of the private sector, ” he said.
Jona said the Electricity Authority of Cambodia will issue details of the electricity tariff next week before the programme is implemented next month.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Ken Loo lauded the move, which came only weeks after GMAC had requested financial aid from the government.
He said the move will help suspended factories and also reduce the burden of other factories that have continued production during the pandemic.
“We requested a delay in paying electricity and/or water bills for three to six months. For factories with employment suspension approved by the labour ministry, we requested an exemption from penalties for failing to reach the minimum electricity usage stipulated in the power purchase agreement because there is virtually no consumption during the suspension period.
“In this difficult economic time, any cents or dollars saved are very essential to help the private sector survive. We sincerely thank the government for their consideration and effort to help, ” said Loo.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said that although the exemption is small, all the aid that the sectors can get will be helpful and welcome.
“Although it won’t provide huge amounts of help, we do support such incentives for the private sector, which is facing challenges from the spread of the coronavirus, ” he said.
More than 180 factories in Cambodia have suspended operations while another 60 are at risk of closing, GMAC has said. The situation impacts 200,000 garment workers directly and two million garment workers indirectly.
As of April 29,2, 865 of 9,689 tourism businesses have been suspended or closed, affecting 46,369 employees, while 96 tour guides have suspended their licences, Fresh News quoted Minister of Tourism Thong Khon as saying at a press conference. - Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network