Commerce Ministry To Be Swapped, Moved

Lengthening the already long list of government buildings be­ing traded with private companies for newly built offices outside Phnom Penh, Commerce Minis­ter Cham Prasidh said Tues­day that his min­­istry’s Norodom Boulevard prem­ises will likely follow suit.

Claiming the Commerce Min­is­­try was too cramped to host sem­inars and not large enough to accommodate the vehicles driven by staff and visitors, Cham Pra­sidh said negotiations are underway for a new ministry to be built west of the city.

“We are considering to change, because now there are difficulties when seminars are organized. There is not space for a parking lot,” he told reporters outside the National Assembly.

“Sometimes the police took our guests’ cars from the road. They are afraid to park in front of the ministry,” he added.

Cham Prasidh would not disclose the name of the company eyeing the ministry’s prime location on the city’s most fashionable thoroughfare.

But one Commerce Ministry staff member said that a well-known import-export company with distribution rights for some international beer and liquor brands, was the principal negotiator.

Few other officials at the ministry were aware of the impending move when contacted on Tuesday.

“I heard it [from the newspaper]. I will go if the ministry moves to wherever else. It’s up to the government,” said a senior ministry official on condition of anonymity.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said he will ask Cham Pra­sidh to answer questions regarding the proposed move, which he said must be worth about one million dollars for the ministry.

Cambodia’s commodities ty­coon Mong Reththy said Tues­day that he had heard the Com­merce Ministry had already reach­ed an agreement with a company. But he said the company was not his, and Mong Reththy said he did not know which company it was.

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