Revenue from business registration fees rose 13 percent to about $2.4 million in the first 11 months of the year over the same period last year, with 4,076 businesses registering at the Commerce Ministry compared to 3,618 in the year-ago period, the ministry said yesterday.
Orm Dararith, director of its legal department, cited a strong macro-economic performance, political stability and reforms at the ministry – including the launch of online business registration – as the factors behind the growth.
The number of domestic companies registering was 2,342, while 1,734 foreign companies registered, with most from China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, according to a report from the ministry.
Mr. Dararith described online registration as the first step of the ministry’s reform process, and said all companies would be asked to register online by early next month. The ministry will send official notification that manual business registration will be closed and businesses will have to register online from next month, he added. The new businesses are not categorized by sector because some operate in more than one, he said.
Economist Srey Chanthy said the rise in the number of businesses registering follows an easier process for registration, macro-economic stability, expectations of benefits from the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of this year, and concerns among business owners that under the AEC they will need the protection registration brings. Mr. Chanthy said most new investment is likely going into agro-industry, food-processing, agriculture, logistics, transport, tourism, mineral exploration and quarrying, hotels, and construction.
To encourage more business registration, he said that the government should continue to improve transport infrastructure and logistics, maintain political stability and social security, continue to improve the business environment, strengthen human capital and retention of human resources, and cut fuel costs.
Chhuon Dara, secretary of state of the Commerce Ministry, said recently that Cambodia has created a favorable investment environment by ensuring its economy remains open and its macroeconomic environment remains stable.
It has also implemented competitive investment incentives and a fast-track investment approval process that allows approval in 28 days, Mr. Dara said. Low labor costs, a strategic location with preferential trading status and access to ASEAN and world markets are also drawing investment to Cambodia, Mr. Dara said. At 20 percent, the corporate tax rate is low, and tax holidays are provided for investors, he added, saying the lack of restrictions on foreign exchange convertibility and free remittance of foreign currencies also encouraged investment.