The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), the government body in charge of approving private and public investments, has green lighted four new factories, worth a combined $50 million, for Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone.
The approved projects include two garment factories, Cambodian Yunkun Co., Ltd and Hisao International (Combodia) Garment Co., Ltd, with a capital investment of $2 and $4 million, respectively. Cambodian Yunkun will generate 266 new jobs, while Hisao International is expected to create 270.
The third plant, Aurotime New Materials Co., Ltd, a chemical factory, will specialise on vanadium pentoxide, ammonium metavanadate, molybdenum oxide and ferronickel. With an investment of $12 million, the factory is expected to supply 178 jobs to the local market.
Finally, Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone Thermal Power Co., Ltd, a coal-fired power plant, will generate 75 jobs with a capital of $41.19 million.
“These projects show that investment is flowing into the country and that the government’s industrial development policy has been successful,” said Mey Kalyan, senior adviser to the Supreme National Economic Council.
According to Mr Kalyan, the approved investment is in line with the government’s goal of transforming Sihanoukville province into a major industrial area, serving as a model for the implementation of its industrial development policy for 2015-2025.
“We are happy to see that there are projects other than garment factories. We need more tech and skill intensive industry that can help us move up the regional value chain,” Mr Kalyan said.
“We need to upgrade our economic structure to achieve a higher level of growth, produce more skilled labour and develop our human resources.”
The government is also planning to build a massive economic zone in Preah Sihanouk province to accommodate up to 10,000 factories. Construction is set to begin in December.
Prime Minister Hun Sen recently announced a new working group designed to tackle some of the biggest questions regarding the transformation of Sihanoukville province into a more developed and industrialised area.
“We need to have a solid roadmap to guide the development of the province. This group will help create one,” Mr Hun Sen said.
The joint working group consists of officials from the ministries of industry and handicraft, tourism, land management, environment, as well as economy and finance.
Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Industry and Handicrafts, explained that the first action of the new group will be to determine what areas of the province are to be protected and preserved and which ones will be turned into industrial spaces. They will then create a master plan to lay out in detail development plans for the region.
“We need to adopt a long-term view to develop the industrial sector and transform Sihanoukville into a multi-purpose industrial zone. I foresee as many as 10,000 factories in the province. This is comparable to Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor project,” Mr Prasidh said.