The Hungarian government plans to supply more than $50 million in soft loans to Cambodia to help develop areas including agriculture, irrigation and fisheries after the settlement of debt owed by the Cambodian government, State Secretary of Hungary’s Fi-nance Ministry Abel Garamhegyi said Monday.
Garamhegyi, who led a business and government delegation to Cambodia, said the two governments must first settle a $433,000 debt owed to Hungary in order for Hungary to issue the loans.
“We can sign this agreement, and it will open the possibility for Hungary to have some other financial program and institutions tow-ards this beautiful country,” he said at the Ministry of Finance.
The agreement settling the debt will be signed May 27 at an Asean-European Union Summit, he said.
The agreement will forgive half the debt and use the other half to expand a Hungarian orphanage in Kandal province, Garamhegyi said.
He said that the $50 million in soft loans will focus on several areas, including infrastructure for water-related industries such as water purification, agriculture projects including fisheries and irrigation projects.
Some private Hungarian companies will be involved, he said.
Garamhegyi was joined by Hun-garian representatives from a water purification company, an information technology company, a fisheries company and others.
Expanding relations will also encourage investment in Cambo-dia, he said, adding that a Hungar-ian company is prepared to make a $30 million investment in a venture with a Korean firm to make flooring materials in Kampot province this year.
Lee-yong Nam, CEO of the Kor-ean firm WWG, said by telephone that construction on three factories could begin in April, and that the company will supply flooring to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Por Yutha, chief of the Finance Ministry’s department of investment and bilateral cooperation division, said the Hungarian debt dates back to the years ranging from 1979 to 1990.
“I think it is a good opportunity for Cambodia to be eligible to get new loans to develop the country,” he said of the debt settlement plan.