While the cash-strapped Cambodian government struggles to collect revenue, Phnom Penh municipality is on track to meeting its revenue targets this year, city tax officials said Thursday.
Municipal Customs Director Keo Chhan said Thursday the city had collected revenues worth about $1.5 million during the first six months of 1998, which is about 40 percent of its goal for the year.
Although this amount is slightly lower than 1997, the city is still waiting to receive revenue from a tax on vehicles that is collected by the Ministry of Finance, Keo Chhan said. With the vehicle tax revenue—expected to total about $475,000—in the coffers, 1998 statistics should surpass the previous year, he said.
Despite some outstanding tax bills that have yet to be paid and a slow month for businesses in July because of the elections, municipal officials said, tax collection over the past year has improved.
The city, however, is still looking for more money as it continues a large-scale rehabilitation project for Phnom Penh. A combination of taxes, billing to businesses and private donations has been used to finance the effort, which is expected to cost $6 million, Phnom Penh First Deputy Governor Chea Sophara said earlier this year.
The rehabilitation project has included filling potholes, installing street and traffic lights, giving sewers their first cleaning since the 1960s, laying sidewalks and resurfacing streets.
City Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeurn expressed concern on Thursday that the budget is not large enough to pay for remaining work.
Some street and traffic lights installed are not operational—a problem the city attributes to its failure to pay its power bills on time. Electricite du Cambodge officials say it is the result of the city not completing installation.
Mann Chhoeurn said there are still many streets in the city’s outlying areas that need to be surfaced. Clogged sewers also remain a problem, and some Phnom Penh streets have continued to flood during heavy rains despite the extensive cleaning they received during the dry season.
The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.