Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chasing Cars, Cambodian Style 12-12-2007

  • Connecting Phnom Penh to Europe, Air Finland is connecting us with ...., no not Finland, but Sweden and only 3 times per month and only for a couple of months. And you can only book seats if you can read Finnish. And the future is bright, as the five year old company has only 1 plane, according to Wikipedia (Dutch version, English version is not up to date).
  • The price of fuel (continued): Vrom Vietnam comes the lamentations concerning subsidizing their petrol prices and a big chunk of Cambodia's fuel bill. The result:
    'Vietnamese farmers cannot purchase oil for their pumps because filling stations and privately owned petrol shops only want to sell oil and petrol to Cambodians who will pay more'.
    So what to do? In Vietnam the response is to lament:
    'Our staff is too small to deal with the strong force of illegal exporters, Mr Tien, Head of the Ha Tien Border Gate’s Customs Agency said'.
    On the other side of Cambodia, local Thai authorities are not sitting idle:
    'People in Cambodia's Koh Kong province are facing a shortage of cooking gas after Thai authorities stepped up a campaign against unauthorised exports of cooking gas'.
    Again supplying Cambodia with subsidized gas is the culprit. And what is Cambodia's view of the situation? Sokimex (a local fuel supplier) owner, Sok Kong, he just reiterates all the complaining Cambodians who are stuck with high 'official' prices but for their moto's it's a low price, because the Thai and the Vietnamese are subsidizing them.
    'And for us, we are so poor that we don't have that[subsidies]'.
    He does however have some hope for Khmer citizens:
    'We might be able to reduce the oil price in 2010 or 2020 when we can extract our crude oil'.
    An anonymous writes in on KI Media:
    'The price of gasoline is kept artificially high to ensure that Sokimex (owned by Sok Kong) and Tela (owned by Bun Rany) can smuggle cheap gasoline from Vietnam and make extraordinary profits'.
  • And what happens to the collected taxes and savings made from not financing increasing global warning: a 10 million dollar road programme is 'corrupted':
    'Many roads are left the same; nothing improves .... he [foreign engineer] reported that he did not see any repairmen or equipment on the road in Kampong Thom province'.
  • Letter to the Editor, Cambodia Daily, December 11, 2007:
    'Phnom Penh's Traffic Problem needs Fixing
    With influx of tourists and foreign direct and indirect investments, public transports have now become, to me personally, the biggest problem facing Phnom Penh. Currently in Phnom Penh most of the roads are jammed all the time, which affects public order, loses us time, blocks most economic activity, and negatively affects other financial benefits of the people and entities. Cambodia seems to have no traffic experts at all, and everyone seems to be ignorant about the impact this problem could have on the economy. I hope the government acts now to facilitate everyone's livelihood, as well as attracting even more foreign investment.
    Lay Vicheka, Hong Kong'.
    Key words: ignorant
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