PM Says No Fees for Small-Scale Vendors

Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive on Friday calling for authorities to stop collecting fees from small-scale market vendors across the country, but officials remained unclear on Sunday on how the new rules would be enforced.

The directive said non-permanent vendors who sell agricultural products from small baskets at “all selling places and markets” would no longer be charged fees and would be assured “security, safety, hygiene and an environment with good care offered by local authorities.”

Shoppers buy vegetables from vendors outside Phsar Kandal market in Phnom Penh on Sunday afternoon. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

Mean Chanyada, a deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said on Sunday that city officials would hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the implementation of the directive.

“His Excellency governor [Pa Socheatvong] has assigned me to chair a meeting on Tuesday with all market chiefs…to discuss and set specific and clear guidlines as it is not clear yet and so we need to make it clear first in order to implement it effectively,” he said.

O’Russei market vendor Pich, who declined to give her full name for fear of drawing the ire of authorities, said that her family had needed to pay 200 riel a day in fees to local officials at the market, where she and her mother sell vegetables inside.

“Since the announcement, I don’t need to pay any fees and I haven’t seen any officials at the market come to collect the fees from us,” she said.

However, vendors working just outside O’Russei market have still been paying 1,700 riel, or about $0.40, per day, which is collected every morning and afternoon, according to Keuy Sophorn, 64, who sells fruit in front of the North entrance.

She said the fee was meant to ensure a safe spot to sell.

Sok Kheng, 55, who also sells fruit outside O’Russei market, said she, like city officials, was unclear about how the directive would change the situation.

“Do the sellers with baskets on the roads or roadsides still need to pay the fees or not?” she said.

“Does the exception apply only to sellers with baskets in the market or also to those who are outside?”

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