The Centre for Policy Studies yesterday urged the government to consider reducing tax on some imported agriculture equipment to support farmers and increase the rate of modernisation.
CPS director Chan Sophal said during a Cross Talk discussion with Khmer Times yesterday that recently the agriculture sector has garnered huge investments. However, he said many farmers and companies working in the sector still lack modern skills and equipment.
Mr Sophal noted that imported equipment and materials used in modern agriculture methods are still highly taxed.
He urged the government to consider lowering taxes on imported equipment and materials in order for farmers to increase cultivation and enhance the agriculture sector.
“The government’s policy in the past was right – there were no taxes on tractors, fertilisers and chemicals,” Mr Sophal said. “The government only taxed spare parts.”
He said the government created a $20 million project under the Agriculture Ministry to expand seed and food production in 11 provinces by providing modern equipment and training to farmers – a move praised by CPS.
Mr Sophal said the government must now encourage farmers by allocating annulled Economic Land Concessions to small-medium enterprises to maximise the production of crops.
Seng Vuthy, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry, said the government has many policies to help small-medium enterprises. Mr Vuthy said the government also applied tax preferences on some imported agricultural machines.
“As for plastic covers, roofs and nets, it is difficult to discuss this because those equipment can be used for other businesses,” he added. “It is difficult to tell which is for agriculture and which is for business.”
Mr Vuthy noted that a request to reduce taxes on imported machinery, spare parts and other equipment used in the sector is already being reviewed by the government.