The Ministry of Finance has recovered about $500,000 of the more than $2 million owed by private companies that rent property from government ministries, officials said this week.
Officials say 11 government ministries are owed money from more than 100 manufacturers and other businesses. Most of the debt collection responsibilities have been transferred to the Finance Ministry.
In January and February, the ministry managed to collect $497,033, according to one official in the Finance Ministry’s state property department who asked not to be named.
Until August, separate ministries were responsible for collecting their own debt, “but they were too late sending [money] to the national budget,” the official said.
The ministry now knows the names and locations of all the companies, and are “contacting them directly” to ask them to pay up, the official said.
In December, the Industry Ministry was owed the most, about $724,000 from 15 private companies, according to Kea Sovath, director of the Industry Ministry’s department of state property. Of those, 10 or 11 are foreign companies, he said.
The Industry Ministry turned over all rental documents to the Ministry of Finance two weeks ago, Kea Sovath said.
“Now [the Finance Ministry] intervened to push the private companies” for payment, he said. The Finance Ministry official said $154,000 has been collected so far from those tenants.
Kaing Leng Khan, acting director of the Finance Ministry’s state property department, said Tuesday the problem with rent is not so much corruption as it is the companies just not paying rent.
“Sometimes there is corruption,” he said. “But when the Ministry of Industry tried to collect the revenue, some companies do not want to pay.”
Thirteen of the 16 companies renting from the Industry Ministry have sent written promises to the government stating they will pay what they owe, though they did not include a deadline in those promises.