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Water Supply Capacity to Be Extended as Demand on the Rise

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse
Date: July 16, 2020

Demand for clean water in Phnom Penh capital is on the rise due to the growing population and constructions in the city. 

To respond to the current demand, Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) has planned to attract investments and seek financial support for the expansion of investment in building clean water treatment plants. 

H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, said that more investments on clean water treatment plants are in need as the government is set to intensify access to clean water for people both in urban and remote areas. 

“Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has to further try its best to increase its capacity to meet the demand as Phnom Penh currently has been expanded into a bigger area and big building development and the number of urban people have rapidly increased,” H.E. Cham Prasidh said. 

“Expanding investment capital, attracting investment, seeking assistance and development partners are necessary to extend clean water services to urban areas and then to remote areas in line with the government’s vision […],” he added.  

Currently, PPWSA is capable of supplying 632,000 cubic metres of clean water per day in the capital. The water is produced by four water treatment plants, including Phoum Prek water station (170,000 cubic metres), Chroy Changvar water station (150,000 cubic metres), Niroth water station (260,000 cubic metres), and Chamkar Mon water station (52,000 cubic metres).

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ARDB farm loans now total $37M

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Date: July 09, 2020

Loan applications to the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) reached $37 million on Thursday since it announced the launch of a $50 million emergency fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on March 16.

ARDB director-general Kao Thach told The Post that the bank has received 350 loan applications since the government launched the fund. More than $10 million in loans have been approved.

He said: “Fish and animals farmers have applied for the most loans, follows by vegetable growers.

“These lacklustre approval figures are a consequence of slow document processing in some areas, which held back the overall approval procedure.”

He said the loan scheme would allow SMEs in agro-industry to expand their businesses and enhance their production lines, aiming to hone their competitive edge and reducing imports from neighbouring countries.

“We will continue to invite and encourage those who need capital to expand their business to file for loan applications under our one-of-a-kind scheme,” said Thach.

A farmer from Banteay Meanchey province, who declined to be named, said he is considering applying for a loan to expand his cultivation of Australian red-claw crayfish.

He said the crayfish – also known by its scientific name Cherax quadricarinatus – has become a highly marketable commodity, with a price of $30 per kg.

“I am interested in borrowing money from the bank because of the low interest rate. I have just started crayfish farming and have more than 4,000, and I want more capital to raise even more,” he said.

The ARDB currently offers loans ranging between $10,000 and $300,000.

The government in May decided to cut the annual interest rates from six to five per cent for working capital and from 6.5 to 5.5 per cent for capital investment, without service charges.

Thach said at a signing ceremony with Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank late in May that the ARDB could receive some parts of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s $300 million financing, which will allocate additional financing to support and play a catalyst role to boost growth in key sectors during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

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Water company expects big revenue rise after 2019 loss

Source: Khmer Times
Date: June 30, 2020

State-owned utility Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PWSA), the first Cambodian Securities Exchange-listed company, aims to collect substantially more revenue in 2020 after a sharp drop in total revenue last year, according to the result of its eighth annual general shareholders’ meeting.

In 2019, PWSA revenue declined more than 18 percent to some $52.79 million from $64.65 million in 2018, according to a financial report filed to the CSX.

The report shows that operating profit fell 45.22 per cent to $12.67 million from more than $23.13 million while net profit decreased 54.77 per cent to $8.12 million from $17.96 million.

However, the company is targeting $79.83 million in revenue in 2020 with net profit of more than $24.60 million.

In 2019, the company produced 221,656,505 cubic metres of clean water supply with 23,035 new users in the city connected to potable water. The company said for the year 2020, it would increase its capacity to produce 227,009,290 cubic metres of clean water and add 20,000 more new users.

According to its annual general shareholders’ meeting, the company will share its 2019 dividend of $4.89 million to shareholders in July with 230 riel ($0.057) per share.

“We would like to thank to all our levels of staff who have contributed hard work to  establish a new achievement to boost the company’s operations in response to people’s  and businesses’ needs,” the company said.

The company has supported a priority projects – the National Strategic Development Plan water supply service target of 100 percent in central urban areas by 2025 and its 2030 Strategic Development Plan of supplying clean water in Phnom Penh City. Consumption of clean water increased to 331 million cubic metres in 2019.

According to current figures
from the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, 4.9 million Cambodians are already connected to clean water, representing 80 percent of urban households in the country.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh has called on the private sector to invest in the clean water sector to assist in helping the government reach its goal.

The Cambodian government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) early this month signed a grant agreement to expand the water supply system in Takhmao City, at a total cost of $32 million.

The project aims to improve access to safe water in Takhmao city through the construction of a new water supply facility that has a treatment capacity of 30,000 cubic metres per day and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

The project marks the 12th grant project that has been funded by the Japanese aid organisation in Cambodia’s water supply sector and the sixth to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) since 1993.

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Residents suffer as Stung Sen River runs dry

Source: Khmer Times
Date: 13 May 2020

Residents and authorities in Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district yesterday expressed deep concern over the persistence of severe drought in the Stung Sen River.

Provincial governor Sok Lou said yesterday many communities are suffering from a scarcity in water supply, which has led to concerns regarding the cultivation of crops.

“Since the arrival of the dry season, residents of the Kampong Svay district has not seen rainfall. The absence of rain has further dried up the Stung Sen River. In some areas, the water level has dropped drastically to the bottom of the river,” said Mr Lou.

Stung Sen River is a major water source for residents in the province. Aside from being a source of water for daily use and irrigation of agricultural crops, the river has also been a place for fishing and bathing animals.

“Some families have lost their source of income since the drought struck,” said Mr Lou.

Despite the challenges, no measure has been carried out by experts and relevant authorities to respond to the drought.

“The affected residents can solve the problem by using a drainage system as well as the remaining water in canals, streams and ponds which are near their houses for daily use,” said Mr Lou, as he expressed hope that the coming rainy season will alleviate the water scarcity.

Water levels drop drastically in drought-stricken Stung Sen River. Facebook
Water levels drop drastically in drought-stricken Stung Sen River. Facebook

“I think Kampong Thom is not the only province experiencing drought. Other provinces have also been facing the same weather phenomenon. However, I believe that when the rainy season arrives, water levels will rise and return to normal,” he added.

In an interview with Khmer Times in March, farmers from the provinces of Pursat and Battambang aired their struggles from water shortages brought by high temperatures during this year’s dry season.

The Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology, in a forecast last month, said the months of April to October will be dominated by the transition between cold and warm phases.

The ministerial notification also said a possible drought period will likely happen from the second week of July until the end of the month.

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Jica loans $50M to HKL to aid rural MSMEs

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Date: 07 April, 2020

HATTHA Kasekar Limited (HKL), a subsidiary of Thai-based Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, (Krungsri), received a $50 million loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to expand its operation and support Micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in rural areas.

The loan agreement was reached on March 27 and will provide funds to rural MSMEs through the Private Sector Investment and Finance system based on Jica’s Facility for Accelerating Financial Inclusion in Asia programme, HKL said in a press release.

“Ninety per cent of the population below the poverty line currently resides in rural Cambodia. It is important to support them in their growth and create more employment to further reduce poverty.

“However, a large financial gap exists. The fact that many MSMEs have limited access to finance has restrained their growth.

“Also of note, many MSMEs are run by women. Ensuring MSMEs’ growth is an important part of the empowerment of women,” it said.

The Cambodia Inter-censal Economic Survey 2014 says women owned 26 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 62 per cent of micro-enterprises.

HKL said: “This loan from Jica supports HKL in expanding lending activity to MSMEs in rural areas. It is designed to reduce poverty and regional disparity in Cambodia.

Thus it will contribute not only to sustainable economic growth but also to [achieving the UN-drafted] SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals],” it added.

HKL said some 82 per cent of its customers are based in rural areas and 61 per cent of its loans are extended to women customers.

“In response to the customers’ needs for financial services, HKL has 177 branches located across the country to contribute to financial inclusion and provide services to MSMEs and other customers … in both rural and urban areas,” it said.

HKL president and CEO Hout Ieng Tong could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

On Friday, the government officially launched the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia with an initial capital of $100 million to provide financing for SMEs.

An international Finance Corporation report released in August said Cambodia’s women entrepreneurs continue to struggle with limited access to financing for business expansion. Only three per cent have access to credit from MFIs and banks.

It estimated that the unmet demand for credit from women entrepreneurs is currently $4.2 billion – a figure that is equivalent to almost 63 per cent of Cambodia’s national budget of $6.7 billion for last year.

In mid-March, the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank on Monday launched a $50 million fund to increase access to credit for SMEs in the local agricultural sector.

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Water shortages raise alarm in Phnom Penh

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Date: 15 March 2020

As temperatures rise across the Kingdom, several communes in Phnom Penh are reporting water shortages.

Tan Ratanak, a 22-year-old woman from Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, told The Post there was no water in her commune last week.

“All last week, from 7am to 8:30pm, not a single drop came out of the faucet. It happened to all the neighbours. Some evenings, the water didn’t return until 10pm,” she said.

Ratanak claimed the problem with the water supply was caused by renovations of canals and streets in the capital.

Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) director-general Sim Sitha said the shortage was not due to technical issues but to an unexpected increase in consumption.

“We can supply 600,000 cubic metres per day while demand has now exceeded 700,000 cubic metres. We are about 100,000 cubic meters short,” he said.

Sitha said water supply in the capital is increasing every year but not as fast as the demand. According to him, in 2016, PPWSA produced only 400,000 cubic metres of clean water daily.

The government is now building a new water treatment plant in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district. The project which is still in the early stages is being built at a cost of $300 million and can produce 400,000 cubic metres per day.

Once construction of the plant completes in 2023, Sitha says he hopes water shortages will end.

On Friday, Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng urged district authorities to prioritise solving the water shortage issue.

“As Phnom Penh grows, and more houses and high-rise buildings are built, demand for water will continue to expand,” he warned.

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Calls on private sector to help achieve clean water targets

Source: Khmer Times
Date: March 04, 2020

Consumption of clean water increased to 331 million cubic metres in 2019, as the government aims for its 2025 goal to have 100 percent of households in urban areas connected to potable water.

According to current figures from the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, 4.9 million Cambodians are already connected to clean water, representing 80 percent of urban households in the country.

Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh has called on the private sector to invest in the clean water sector to assist in helping the government reach its goal.

Cham told Khmer Times that as the demand for clean water has risen the government has encouraged investment from the private sector to assist in producing and connecting more Cambodian households to clean water.

“The ministry encourages participation from the private sector to help build and expand clean water distribution systems to new areas.

“We are also increasing attention to clean water distribution to ensure both urban and rural households enjoy access to clean water.

“As the percentage of clean water that is supplied by state-owned enterprises is limited, it is vital to encourage the private sector to invest in infrastructure and produce quality water safely, sustainably and at a reasonable price.”

Ministry figures show that the nation’s 2019 water supply was mostly produced by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, producing 221 million cubic metres. This was followed by Siem Reap Water Supply Authority, producing 6.9 million cubic metres, 11-state owned water supply authorities producing 37 million cubic metres and 258 private suppliers producing 81 million cubic metres.

A total of 73,830 kilometres of pipeline have been connected to households across the country, of which, 68,682 kilometres were built and are owned by the private sector.

According to charity, approximately 3 million people out of the total population in Cambodia lack access to safe water, and 6.5 million lack access to improved sanitation.

With approximately 77 percent of Cambodians living in rural areas, poor access to safe water and sanitation disproportionately affects its rural communities.

Although Cambodia has one the fastest growing economies in Asia, the gross domestic product per capita still remains low compared with neighbouring countries and access to affordable financing for water and sanitation remains a barrier for families in need of securing water connections and toilets for their homes.

Access to affordable financing for water and sanitation remains a barrier for families in need of safe water and sanitation in Cambodia.

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Complete rural access to clean water supply targeted by 2025

Source: Khmer Times
Date: February 19, 2020

The Ministry of Rural Development Royal Government of Cambodia has declared that it is fully committed to ensure full access to supply of clean water in rural communities by 2025.

Chan Darong, Spokesperson and Secretary of State for the ministry said that beside clean water supply, improved sanitation will also be ensured.

According to the spokesperson, rural sanitation access increased from 71 percent in 2017 to 80 percent in 2019. Clean water access in rural areas increased from 50 percent in 2017 to 65 percent in 2019, he added.

The targets set will be achieved through intimate collation with all concerned stakeholders and utilisation of assistances and grants, particularly in the memorandums of understanding with 47 non-governmental organisations.

If treated water supply services are not increased, the number of people who have no clean water to use will increase significantly in the upcoming years, resulting in a rise in fatalities caused by drinking unsafe water.

“Surface water and groundwater are important sources for drinking, but surface water usually contains viruses that cause diarrhoea, while groundwater contains arsenic,” he said. “So we have to address water safety issues and focus on environmental issues that could seriously impact the quality of both surface water and groundwater.”

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Standard Chartered: Sustainable Development a $45B Opportunity for the Private Sector in Vietnam

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Date: February 7, 2020

To help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Vietnam presented a $45 billion opportunity for the private sector to invest in sustainable development.

Vietnam presented a $45 billion opportunity for the private sector to invest in sustainable development to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a recent study by the international banking group Standard Chartered.

The opportunity 2030 study revealed an almost $10 trillion opportunity for private-sector investors across emerging markets, with Vietnam presenting $45.8 billion of that total.

The opportunities for the private sector would come from contributions to three infrastructure-focused goals between now and 2030, including clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

SDG investment opportunities were found transport infrastructure and improving digital access, according to the study.

The study found that to achieve universal digital adoption would require private-sector investment of around $24.4 billion on 2030. The significantly improve the Vietnam’s transport infrastructure would require an estimated investment of $20.1 billion from the private sector.

The potential private-sector investment opportunity in the water sector was smaller, the study noted. However, as 11 percent of Vietnam’s population still did not have access too clean water and sanitation, investment would make a real impact.

To help achieve universal access to clean water by 2030 would require an estimated private-sector investment of $1.3 billion.

“A series of ongoing market reform is making Vietnam an increasingly attractive place for investors. The government is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is working directly with the UN to align its development plans with the SDGs,” Niruk Sapru, CEO Vietnam and ASEAN & South Asia Cluster Markets at Standard Chartered Bank said.

“Opportunity 2030 provides an important map of the SDG opportunities for private sector investors looking to invest with impacts and improve the lives of millions over the next decade, “he stressed.

Statistics showed that now 89 percent of the population got access to clean water and digital access by 2030, which would require total investment of $13.1 billion and $40.7 billion by 2030, respectively.

Vietnam already had universal access to power. However, with a growing economy, there would be an additional need for continual investment in affordable and clean energy to maintain access in a sustainable way, the bank said.

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Ministry of Industry and Handicraft to Be Renamed

Source: Khmer Times
Date: January 25, 2020

Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed to rename the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft as the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation at the request of Minister Cham Prasidh.

According to a letter from the Council of Ministers to Mr Prasidh issued yesterday, the government has also agreed to amend all existing laws and legal documents, as well as the structure and functioning of the renamed ministry.

In the letter, the government has decided to establish two new units, the General Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation.

“The creation of these two entities requires no additional state framework, using existing frameworks that are relevant to science, technology and innovation,” the letter said.

An inter-ministerial meeting with relevant ministries should be prepared to make draft on the ministry’s structure, and functioning to submit to the cabinet.

The government also instructed the ministry to offer opportunity for key intellectuals, academics with degree in science and technology, as well as innovative and technical officials to work and provide inputs.