The company responsible for collecting Phnom Penh’s trash has defended its erratic pricing structure in response to an inquiry from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), which says that numerous complaints have been filed by small business owners.
The ACU sent a letter to Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd. on March 14 saying that many local business owners are upset that shops in the same area, selling the same products, are paying different fees for the company to pick up their trash.
“People are disappointed with the company’s service and don’t want the [trash collection] payment included in their electricity bill,” the ACU’s letter says.
The ACU recommends that Cintri create a public communications portal where residents can easily file complaints in order to eliminate such irregularities.
In its response to the ACU, in a letter dated March 20, Cintri admits that businesses in the same location and category are being charged different fees for trash collection.
However, Cintri argues that the situation has been unavoidable due to stingy customers who refuse to pay set prices for trash collection, and insist on bargaining down the fee.
“Some customers still refuse to pay the fee so the company has decided to facilitate a lower price for some customers,” Cintri writes.
Even among customers who have agreed to a reduced price, Cintri has struggled to collect payments, it says.
“So this has led to [businesses] in the same place and same category paying different prices,” the letter says, adding that Cintri is already dealing with the matter.
“For all these problems the company has created a public communication place to solve every customer’s complaints” through local offices and its Phnom Penh headquarters, Cintri says.
In 2002, Cintri was awarded a 50-year contract that made it solely responsible for the collection and disposal of Phnom Penh’s garbage.
Facing a rapidly expanding population in the capital—from about 1.2 million in 2000 to about 2.2 million today—the company has struggled to fulfill its obligation to keep the city’s streets clean.
In October, Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong warned Cintri that it needed to do a better job keeping trash off the streets or it would have its contract canceled.
Seng Savy, Cintri’s chairman, said Tuesday that if the company does not allow customers to pay a reduced price, it risks receiving nothing at all.
“The reason the company has allowed customers to pay half price is because some customers do not agree to pay full price…so if we don’t take this [reduced] price we will get nothing,” he said.
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