Just days after Phnom Penh’s garbage collection company announced it was suspending street cleaning and cutting back on garbage collection services because many residents have not paid their bills, the municipality completed negotiations to restore full services, the company said Tuesday.
The city “guaranteed us that clients who have not paid will face sanctions,” said Pascal Patrice, operations manager for Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd. “If people don’t pay, the electricity will be cut off.”
Cintri and the municipality will release a joint statement later this week explaining the details of the talks. In a thus far fruitless effort to collect for its services, Cintri signed a deal with Electricite du Cambodge last year to include the garbage collecting fee on electricity bills, which most residents pay.
But Cintri has received only a fraction of the $170,000 it would receive every month if Phnom Penh residents paid their bills. In the first 15 days of this month, Cintri collected $3,700 in payments through EdC.
City Hall acted quickly as Phnom Penh’s streets got dirtier the past few days.
“The municipality doesn’t care if Cintri cuts its staff,” Map Sarin, vice governor of Phnom Penh, said Tuesday. “But garbage collection must be done every day and streets should be cleaned well. In the past few days, I saw a lot of garbage on the streets.”
Cintri announced Friday that it would lay off 400 of its 900 employees. Patrice said they will be rehired, though it will take a few days for Cintri to fully restore services.
Last year, Cintri invested
$6 million after signing a 47-year contract with the city. So far, Patrice said, the company has lost $2.5 million and its parent company, Sintec, has injected more than $100,000 per month in Cintri to pay for its operating costs.
In the past 10 years, eight garbage collection firms have closed their doors because they were unable to collect fees from Phnom Penh residents.