Officials Meet to Discuss Future of Beleaguered Poipet City

Officials from several ministries met yesterday with Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities at the Interior Ministry to discuss how to further the development of Poipet City in order to attract more Thai tourists to the border town.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng presided over the meeting, during which officials mulled means of improving Poipet City’s infrastructure and how to create more efficient checkpoints.

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan sent a request to Prime Minister Hun Sen, asking him to appoint someone to guide Poipet City’s lagging development.

“It is important that we discuss the Poipet City situation and the state of the border checkpoints because even though we have paid a great deal of attention to the problems, the city still faces complex difficulties,” Mr Kheng said in a speech.

Poipet City’s sewage system does not work properly, and the city consistently floods due to drainage problems and frequently suffers from blackouts, according to Interior Ministry Secretary of State Sak Setha, who said he had been assigned to visit the city and monitor its situation.

“Poipet is considered a city with potential as an economic gate between Cambodia and Thailand but right now there are still many problems,” said Mr Setha. “Right now, Poipet City cannot attract crowds from Thailand.”

Mr Setha added that currently Thais did not need to come to Cambodia to buy goods because the market on their side of the border consisted of 95 percent Cambodian vendors, who collectively paid Thai authorities roughly $1 million a month for stall permits. Workers carrying goods across the border in pushcarts also clog up the checkpoint, according to Mr Setha.

“The situation at the checkpoints is a mess because 7,000 to 8,000 people cross every day for business,” said Mr Setha.

Mr Kim Yan had requested that the government create a new border crossing specifically for Thai visitors in order to allow them to visit the Akak market on the Cambodian side of the border. Mr Kim Yan also suggested that the government should consider creating new communes and villages in Poipet City by investing heavily in infrastructure projects.


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