The number of businesses that registered with the Ministry of Commerce during the first 11 months of the year more than doubled compared to 2017, with a total of 14,552 companies formalising.
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The ministry reported that, from January to November, business registration increased by 138 percent compared to the same period last year.
The number of foreign businesses that register with the ministry grew by 63 percent, reaching a total of 142 companies. Local registration expanded by a whopping 132 percent, from 4,812 firms in 2017 to 11,188 this year.
Registration of sole proprietorships increased by 166 percent, from 1,209 in 2017 to 3,222 in 2018, the report shows.
Meanwhile, dissolutions also increased during the 11-month period. 142 businesses filed for a certificate of dissolution in 2018, while only 58 did so last year.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council, told Khmer Times that the growth in business registration is a good sign. He said it is the result of a better, easier-to-access system, coupled with an attractive economy that attracts more and more people – local and foreign – every year.
“We should encourage more businesses to register and facilitate the registration process. We don’t know if they will make big investments in the country, but it is always a good sign that they choose to register,” Mr Kalyan said.
Speaking on Friday at an event organised by the Central Bank, Ly Sodeth, World Bank senior country economist in Cambodia, said the process of registering a business in the Kingdom is still cumbersome and expensive, particularly when compared to neighbours Thailand and Vietnam.
He pointed out that Cambodia slipped this year in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, going from the 131st position to the 138th spot.
He said the government should focus on improving business registration, supporting entrepreneurship, and facilitating access to finance in order to encourage more young people to open their own business.
“I think a reform is needed to encourage more businesses to register, support entrepreneurship, and promote domestic investment, innovation and institutional development,” Mr Sodeth said.
“The most important aspect is business registration. Cambodia ranked the worst in the ‘business registration’ category, which requires physical presence. If we eliminate the need to come to the ministry to register, a lot more businesses will formalise.
“However, even registering a business online is often quite burdensome in Cambodia,” he added.