Prime Minister Hun Manet has announced a two-year tax exemption on key goods, including mangoes, longans, aquaculture, animal husbandry and palm oil production to alleviate financial strains on both the general public and the private sector in agriculture.

This new measure, announced during the 19th government-private sector forum on November 13, supplements existing relief for eight agricultural products spanning 2024-2025. 

The tax exemption aligns with Prakas 252, addressing manufacturing enterprises engaged in domestic supply or agricultural exports. However, suppliers must adhere to specified conditions, providing clear names for verification to the General Department of Taxation (GDT).

“Agriculture holds priority as a sector receiving tax exemptions and incentives, aligning with the government’s commitment to propel development and bolster the economy. This exemption is a response to requests from the private sector submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Finance,” he explained.

He noted that during the 18th government-private sector forum, former Prime Minister Hun Sen had granted tax incentives for eight manufacturing enterprises, covering domestic supply and agricultural product exports. These products included unmilled rice, milled rice, corn, beans, pepper, cassava, cashew nuts and rubber.

Srun Pov, director of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA), stated on November 14 that the association’s members welcomed the two-year tax exemption. They were pleased as it alleviated the financial strain on livestock farmers across the nation.

“We secured a two-year tax exemption, covering one per cent withholding tax and ten per cent valued-added tax (VAT). This alleviates challenges for livestock farmers, particularly as prices for pork and beef were declining due to illegal imports of frozen meat,” he explained.

He added that his association praised Manet’s comments regarding the crackdown on illegal imports from neighbouring countries. They anticipate more effective implementation of the Prime Minister’s directives by officials.

Lemphor Vorith, development association officer and spokesperson for the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA), explained that before the forum, both the CAA and the CLRA had formally requested the exemption of this tax from both the former and current governments. Consequently, the government decided to grant this two-year tax exemption.

“The CAA indirectly benefits from this exemption. When a company relies on us for fish feed, and that company receives a tax exemption, it can subsequently offer the feed to farmers at an affordable price,” he explained.

Moreover, to contribute to a national economic boost, Manet advised state-run electricity utility Electricity of Cambodia (EDC) to explore providing incentives to industrial and agricultural consumers of electricity.

He mentioned that the government accepted the request to reduce electricity prices and permit the installation of solar panels on roofs. The government has endeavoured to lower prices to decrease production costs and ease the financial burden on people. 

However, the possibility of price reductions depended on the situation, business sustainability and supply stability, necessitating a thorough and comprehensive examination, he added.