Smart Axiata, one of the leading mobile companies in Cambodia launched its two-year sustainability report yesterday, showing accountability in business, corporate social responsibility and tax payment in what government officials said was a good model of practices in the ICT business sector.
Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, said that the sustainability 2015-2016 is a restatement of the company’s overall vision, achievements and a sustainability commitment transparently presented to stakeholders and the public.
In 2016 alone, Smart contributed $313 million to Cambodia’s national economy, a significant 1.6 percent of Cambodia’s GDP from a single company, Mr Hundt said.
He added that Smart also remitted $65 million in tax, levies and regulatory fees making the mobile company among the largest taxpayer in the country.
“Last year Smart contributed to 3.6 percent of Cambodia’s national tax income,” said Mr Hundt.
“Smart is committed to comply with regulations from government institutions and the company is happy to pay tax because the revenue goes towards building schools and hospitals,” added Mr Hundt.
“Tax revenue goes into the national budget for developing the country. Paying tax is Smart’s obligation and we hope all [mobile] companies realise this, too, and will be accountable in meeting their tax obligations.”
Kan Channmeta, secretary of state of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said the government passed the Telecommunications Law in 2015 to ensure a level playing field in the sector, especially when it came to tax payments from mobile operators.
“In accordance with the law, if an operator does not comply with conditions and procedures, two kinds of action can be taken against it,” Mr Channmeta said.
“The first procedure is for the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia to deal with unfair competition based on official complaints lodged by the operators. The second is for the aggrieved operator to file a suit in court,” he added.
Ieng Sunly, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Smart’s good tax compliance was a model for other operators to follow.
“The Ministry of Economy and Finance wants to see all companies perform like this,” Mr Sunly said.
“I always encourage Smart not to care about others. When they perform well, they will be a testimony to others. Their reputation will increase and they will be a good model for other companies in Cambodia,” he added.
Smart’s sustainability report 2015-2016 comprises four pillars – beyond short-term profits, nurturing people, process excellence and planet and society. It is the second standalone sustainability report so far by Smart.
It is constructed based on a two-year reporting period and covers Smart’s initiatives from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016.
In 2016, Smart also supported 40, 656 jobs in Cambodia and directly employed 1,047 employees, 98 percent of whom are Cambodian nationals.
Beyond Smart’s core business, the company has initiated and sponsored numerous corporate social responsibility programmes, projects and events, focusing on three key areas – education, green environment and community sports .
“Our CSR vision is to make significant positive change in the communities we operate in,” said Mr Hundt.
“Together with our major partners, such as UNESCO, Sipar, STEM Cambodia, Happy Football Cambodia-Australia, World Vision, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and various ministries such as the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Environment, Smart has managed to empower many Cambodians to believe in a better future.”