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Cambodia has repaid 19 pct of external debt: Ministry

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Aun Pornmoniroth, the Minister of Economy and Finance. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Following erroneous reports in local media, the Ministry of Economy and Finance yesterday clarified that public debt stood at $7.02 billion as of the end of 2018 and that the country has already repaid 19 percent.

Most of that debt is external debt that largely corresponds to grants and assistance used to build infrastructure, the ministry said.

From 1993 to 2018, the government signed concessional loan agreements to the tune of $11.3 billion, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. About 86.9 percent of that money was invested in infrastructure while 13.1 percent went to boosting the private sector.

During that 25-year period, the government disbursed $7.2 billion, around 64 percent of total money borrowed. Just over 87 percent was used to finance infrastructure projects, while approximately 13 percent was used for projects in other priority sectors.

From 1993 to 2018, the government repaid $1.3 billion of its debt to development partners, about 19 percent of its outstanding debt, according to the ministry.

The ministry said in the report that preliminary results on debt sustainability analysis indicate that all the four key debt indicators were well below their respective indicative thresholds in 2018.

Public external debt to GDP was 21.4 percent (with the threshold at 40 percent), present value of public external debt to exports was 30.4 percent (180 percent threshold), public external debt service to exports was 1.5 percent (15 percent threshold), and debt service to revenue was 5.3 percent (18 percent threshold).

“Based on the international best practice, therefore, Cambodia’s public debt remains ‘sustainable’ and ‘low risk’ of debt distress,” the ministry said.

In bilateral terms, as of the end of 2018, Cambodia had borrowed $4.6 billion from China, $1.3 billion from Japan, $767 million from South Korea, and $337 million from France, while just over $4 billion were borrowed from international institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

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