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Small businesses seek Government’s help

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A local small business holder selling shoes at a roadside stall waits for customers. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia’s small businesses are feeling the economic punch of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leading them to seek government help.

Associations working with the micro companies have backed the call. These include the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDIEA), which said that while a full assessment of the financial impact on the sector has not been made yet, income streams have dropped substantially and many workers are facing job suspension.

“We don’t have an official report of assessment on economic impact yet, but based on what our  members throughout the country are telling us, their incomes have slowly declined since the outbreak of COVID-19. We estimate a decline of around 70 percent,” said Vorn Pov, president of IDIEA.

While the government has put relief packages in place to help to ailing garment and tourism sectors – including paid leave for workers on enforced leave – no such aid has yet been offered to the country’s small businesses.

“We’d like the government to look at the small business sector in the same way because the impact is spreading across all industries,” Pov said. “To this end, the association is planning to submit a formal letter of request for this help.”

The Cambodia Food and Service Workers’ Federation echoed the same sentiment, saying that workers in the food and leisure sector will see their livelihoods severely affected. CFSWF President Ou Tep Phallin has called for the government to also subsidise those affected.

Meanwhile, the Government has ordered the public to practise the social distancing measure to avoid possible transmission of the deadly virus. Many schools, cinemas and other huge establishments have been temporarily stopped operating until the situation gets better.

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