Under a 15-year contract to be signed Monday, Royal Group will provide a limousine service to the government that will utilize up to 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles, a company official said.
Royal Group will also obtain a license for Phnom Penh’s second metered-taxi service, Jake Montross, business finance manager for Royal Group, said Thursday.
Montross would not discuss the cost of either deal, though he said the Ministry of Finance arranged the contract. Ministry officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“The price the government has agreed to does not guarantee this as profitable. We will have to find an secondary market,” Montross said, explaining that the cars will be hired out to hotels and luxury tour operators when not being used by the government.
“The main focus is for foreign delegations, however the ministries and institutions of the government will use it for other official work,” he said. “This does not mean that they will become personal vehicles.”
The Royal Group’s fleet of Mercedez-Benz E280s will replace the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ aging fleet of Peugeots, he said.
The limousine service must be ready by the May 27-28 European Union-Asean summit, Montross said, and the taxi service is anticipated to start up in about 6 months.
If the taxi service is not running within a year, the government will revoke the license, he said, adding that the state has agreed not to issue licenses for any more metered-taxi services.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, who chairs the National Assembly finance and budget commission, said he was unaware of the limousine fleet agreement but believed the deal could simplify government operations.
“If the government can do it, it is good. We don’t have to worry about where we get the cars,” he said.
Chea Vannath, an independent social commentator, said the need for a limousine service in certain instances is justified, but it should not be used by government officials for personal benefit.
“The government needs to commit to make sure that the limousine is used for the right purposes,” she said.