27-30 March | Keeping You Informed: Recent Announcements by the Royal Government

With the COVID-19 situation rapidly escalating and the circumstances changing everyday in Cambodia, EuroCham will be regularly disseminating the official announcements from the Royal Government to ensure our network is updated as efficiently as possible. 

Due to the significant number of incoming announcements, we are unable to translate these in full so please refer to our summaries below and the attached official notices in Khmer. We are expecting more decisions in the coming days.

Official Announcements: 27 - 30 March

(English summaries provided by EuroCham Cambodia, subject to corrections by relevant authorities)

1. Unofficial Summary from the Prime Minister’s Address - 30 March 2020

  • There are 107 cases of covid-19 as of today.
  • The draft law related to the State of Emergency has been prepared and is ready to be reviewed by the Council of Ministers on Friday before being presented to the National Assembly.
  • A USD 500-600 million State package is being consider as loan to banks and micro-finance institutions (MFI) with low interest so that they can further lend to businesses with low interest rates.
  • Banks and MFI are urged to delay loan payments due date and should not seize borrower’s property during this time. Riel and Dollar capital requirements have been reduced from 12+% to 7%. This reduction equals $1.6 million for bank/MFI.
  • Landlords are called upon to delay rental payments and due dates or drop rental fees during the COVID-19 outbreak. The private sector is also asked to negotiate amongst themselves.
  • All Casinos are ordered to temporarily close from 1 April, employers are requested to discuss and negotiate with their employees.
  • The export of white rice and unmilled rice is banned from 5 April until further notice to ensure the domestic supply. The Ministry of Economy and Finance will review whether to reduce the cost for rice millers purchasing rice from farmer in order to stabilised the price. 
  • The agriculture sector is relatively unaffected from this crisis, while the most affected sectors are tourism, industry, transportation and garment (57 Factories have closed: 50 lack raw material and 7 lack buyers). Cambodia will try to produce more rice during this period.
  • Tax revenue has increased, though custom revenue has decreased (around $700 million collected).
  • Public transportation (buses and river boats) are temporarily stopped. 
  • Authorities will seize all medicine and equipment related to Covid-19 testing and treatment which have not been approved by the Ministry of Health. Once identified, the owners of this medicine and equipment must be arrested.
  • During the state emergency, the Royal Government may determine price of necessary products such as rice, though the Royal Government will mostly remain committed to the principle of non-intervention.
  • The Royal Government has received $10 million in donations to fight COVID-19. Part of this money has been used to order approximately 3 million masks and 5000 medical suits, with the remaining to be used on further equipment if the order is not enough.

2. National Bank of Cambodia: Circular on Loan Restructuring during COVID-19 Epidemic

On 27 March, the National Bank of Cambodia issued a Circular on Loan Restructure during the Impact of the COVID-19 Epidemic, which aims to maintain financial stability; support economic activities and mitigate the burden of borrowers who are facing difficulty making repayments due to a drop in their main income drop. The National Bank of Cambodia has instructed bank and financial institutions to pay attention to clients who are facing actual impact and has allowed the loan restructure for the following prioritised industries:

  • Tourism sector (hotel, guesthouse and restaurant includes food, beverage and other supporting services)  
  • Garment sector (includes employee)
  • Construction sector (first loan for building house/shop and for buying house) 
  • Transport (Taxi & Tuk Tuk Driver) and Logistics Sector

Banks and Financial institution shall clearly identify clients who are expected to experience financial difficulties before loan restructuring which shall be given to clients with the repayment of interest or/and principal due more than 90 days and expect clients to experience financial difficulties and repayment only in the interim period; and valid by 31 December 2020.

“Loan Restructuring” is to amend the terms of the original loan contract, thereby, allowing preferences to be made to clients who are in actual and temporary financial difficulty. For loans that meet this prerequisite, the following can be considered “loan restructuring”:

  1. Reductions in the amount of loan principal or amount due at maturity
  2. Reductions of interest rate lower than the original contract terms
  3. Delay of repayment of principal or interest or interest capitalisation
  4. Delay of loan maturity
  5. Additions and/or changes to borrowers or/and guarantors if any
  6. Conversion from loan depreciation to interest-only payment, and to repaying all principal at the loan maturity (Bullet Loan)
  7. Exemption or reduction of collateral (asset)
  8. Reduction of contract terms or/and
  9. Providing a grace period without repayment up to 6 months, as of the effective date of the new contract.

3. Results of the Cabinet Reshuffle

On 30 March, His Majesty the King issued a Royal Decree to amend and appoint the new composition of the Royal Government following the approval of the National Assembly and request by the Prime Minister. The Royal Decree provided the following:

  • His Excellency Kitti Settha Pandita Cham Prasidh, appointed as the Senior Minister and Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation 
  • His Excellency Keut Rith was appointed as the Minister of Justice
  • His Excellency Chea Vandeth was appointed as the Minster of Posts and Telecommunication
  • His Excellency Chhit Sokhon was appointed as the Minister of Cults and Religion
  • His Excellency Prum Sokha was appointed as the Minister of Civil Service 

4. General Department of Customs and Excise Letter No. 0853/20 on Implementation of the Sub-Decree No. 017 on the list of Prohibited and Restricted Goods

On 27 March 2020, the General Department of Customs and Excise issued the letter No. 0853/20 to the directors of branches and bureaus of the Customs and Excise to implement Sub-Decree No. 017 issued on 26 February 2020 on the list of the prohibited and restricted goods. The General Department of Customs and Excise instructed four procedures in controlling the listed products in the sub-decree.

  1. Customs permit is not required for export and import of the products listed in the sub-decree.
  2. Business owners must submit “certificate” in any forms following the regulations to the customs and excise officials during clearance procedures.
  3. The customs and excise officials at checkpoints have to check the consistency of each documents such as certificate, invoice, and other import and export related documents with logo on product package or other information.
  4. In case of irregularities and uncertainty of quality, the customs and excise officials shall cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce or the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for product check.

This letter has to be implemented from 01 April 2020 onward. 

5. Ministry of Commerce on Maintaining Product Market Price

The Ministry of Commerce has observed during the COVID-19 situation that some online sellers are taking this opportunity to increase their prices on products such as face mask, hand sanitizer and other necessary food for daily use across the country.

The Ministry of Commerce has requested:

  1. The public shall remain calm and avoid panicking as sellers can use this opportunity to increase their prices unreasonably.
  2. Sellers through internet platform shall maintain a national solidarity mindset and avoid using this opportunity to much for their own benefits.
  3. Shop owners and other sellers must display the price tags in Khmer Riel on their products to ensure fair competition and promote national currency. For facemask, sanitizer and thermometer sellers must show the price tags in Khmer Riel, in a size visible from a distance.

The Ministry of Commerce will assign officials to cooperate with other rerated institutions to investigate, examine the quality, safety and price and will take actions in accordance with the law once fraud has been found. 

6. Ministry of Economy and Finance Letter No. 2300 to the General Department of Customs and Excise on Banning Rice Exports

Following the Prime Minister’s press conference on 30 March 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Finance issued the Letter No. 2300 on 30 March 2020 to instruct the General of Customs and Excise on the ban of rice exports, effective from 05 April 2020 until further notice, to ensure the sustainability of rice supply in the Country during COVID-19 situation. 

7. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Travel Restrictions issued by the Royal Government in Relation to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 27 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued temporary entry restrictions to Cambodia, which are effective from 30 March 2020. The restrictions include, the suspension of the visa exemption policy and issuance of tourist visas, medical certificate are required for entry that have been issued from their own country, and the proof of insurance for an amount not less than $50,000. 

8. Ministry of Health Notification on Private Medical Check-up Services

On 30 March, the Ministry of Health issued a notification to medical check-up services to inform them that they are not allowed to test and treat Covid-19 patients unless permitted by the Ministry of Health. If the Ministry finds that private treatment facilities/services are not following as notified, the Ministry will take serious action against those services in accordance with the law. 

 

 

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