The Asian Development Bank has promised Cambodia its first loan since 1996, a $40 million package for repairs to Route 1, a government official said Wednesday.
The loan was informally announced Tuesday during a meeting between co-Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An and ADB Program Director Gerry van der Linden, according to Soy Sokha, secretary of state for economic affairs.
Neither van der Linden nor the ADB’s country representative, Someth Suos, could be reached for comment Wednesday.
The official signing ceremony for the loan is scheduled for Dec 12 in Phnom Penh, he said.
The loan will cover repairs on Route 1 from Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese border. The project is part of a 1995 ADB proposal to build an Indochina Highway that would stretch from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City.
In October, officials said the ADB was considering an additional $75 million for rehabilitating Route 5 to Battambang, Route 6 to Kompong Thom, and Route 7 to Stung Treng. But there was no indication Wednesday whether that loan will go ahead.
Work is scheduled to begin in April on the first phase from Phnom Penh to Neak Lueng.
This is the first loan approved by the ADB since Dec 1996, according to the ADB program official in Phnom Penh.
Analysts said Wednesday that more major loans will probably follow next year, possibly including one from the International Monetary Fund. In addition to the new loan, Sok An and van der Linden discussed the second installment of a two-year-old $30 million agricultural loan that has yet to be released, Soy Sokha said.
The ADB program officer said the $15 million installment had been held up because the government has not yet completed reforms that are conditions of the loan, some of which must be approved by the National Assembly.
He would not say whether a specific deadline had been set for the reforms to be completed.
Soy Sokha said the government had already applied to the ADB to have the second half of the loan released.