Cambodia’s private sector has urged the government to allow foreign ownership this week saying an open-minded real estate market would promote economic growth. The Cambodian investment law was amended back in 2005 to allow foreign ownership of permanent fixtures, but as yet has not been enforced. The non-implementation of the act has in fact rendered the amendments as a forgotten law, and as such has now become out dated. In the current legal understanding, the old law will only allow a property investment in the name of a Cambodian national but with the pressure from the private sector to increase wealth, urgent action will be required.
Chris Green, Head of Research at Obelisk International says ‘The key improvements to the property investment law would open up a whole new economic world to the country of Cambodia. These measures would not only further develop Cambodia’s property investment market, but the new interest from those investors who want to take advantage early, will not only create a boom putting Cambodia on the map, but will also make the country more competitive with its neighbours.’
American lawyer and chairman of the International Business Club, Bretton Sciaron comments on the property investment news ‘There are several reasons for urgent action, this is already a sector of the economy that is dynamic, but foreign ownership of apartments, condominiums and other such structures on the land will help spur further economic growth. Such a regulatory development will provide a dramatic indication that Cambodia has an investor-friendly environment.’
Vast new building projects have increased over the past few years, including a great number of satellite cities worth billions of dollars that when completed will fundamentally alter the appearance of the capital. After years of disorder within Cambodia, the country is now turning things around as a growing economy posting a steady 11% growth over the last three years, fuelled by a strong tourism industry and clothing manufactures.
Cambodian Commerce Minister, Cham Prasidh said that Cambodia still relies on international aid for half of its annual budget, but must now diversify by seeking more varied foreign investments. ‘There are other sectors we are trying to encourage, but we have to find out what are the sectors where we can be competitive. If we try to produce the same thing as Thailand or Malaysia, it will be very difficult’.