Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday provided an indication of the role that will be played by the new Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, which was created late last year, announcing it will hold the sole responsibility for registering small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The government last year announced that the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy would be split into two ministries, the other being the Ministry for Mines and Energy. Cham Prasidh, who had just been named as minister for industry, mines and energy, was granted the position as the new industry and handicrafts minister. Mr. Prasidh had previously served as the former commerce minister.
At the 17th Government-Private Sector Forum on Tuesday, Mr. Hun Sen invited the heads of the 10 working groups within the forum to deliver reports and make suggestions to the government for policy changes.
Te Taing Por, a businessman who heads the working group on small and medium enterprises, told Mr. Hun Sen that many potential SME owners were being hindered in their attempts to even register.
“The small and medium enterprises are facing difficulties in…the legal procedures for registration,” said Mr. Taing Por, requesting that Mr. Hun Sen create a “single window” for SME registration.
“[SME owners] find it hard to register because they don’t know which or how many ministries they have to register with.”
Mr. Hun Sen immediately declared that only the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts will be empowered to accept the registration of SMEs.
“All relevant ministries must delegate their powers to the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts so that registration takes place in only one place,” Mr. Hun Sen said, noting that the government-business forum was being broadcast live around the nation by the state-run TVK.
“Please register with only one place, don’t go to many places.”
SMEs account for 99 percent of firms in Cambodia and for 45 percent of the people employed in the country, according to the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank.