Phnom Penh City Hall has negotiated an installment system for O’Russei Market vendors to pay their 20-year fees, though some vendors are still seeking a reduction.
Vendors at the central Phnom Penh market protested in late July against the market’s decision to increase fees by 10%, with new prices ranging from $2,178 to $3,630 for a 20-year period based on stall size. The vendors said they were hard pressed for cash because of the Covid-19 pandemic and instead wanted a 50% reduction in fees.
Phnom Penh deputy governors Keut Chhe and Noun Pharath met with five vendor representatives on Monday and released a statement stating they had negotiated term payments for every five or 10 years, or the existing option to pay the entire fees upfront. The fees would remain the same as it was 20 years ago, revoking the earlier proposal for a 10% increase.
The letter, released by City Hall, also states that representatives pushed to continue the 20-year payments system, issue stall titles for those who paid the fees, a 50% reduction and to promise repairs to the market building.
Hort Vanthy, an O’Russei market manager, said both sides had agreed to the term payments and that all but 60 to 70 vendors would agree to the deferred payment scheme.
“The representatives have agreed but there are some people who still ask for a 50% reduction in payment, but it didn’t happen,” he said.
Kong Vuthy, one of the five representatives, said he agreed with the new payment scheme but was still to talk to vendors to know if they would support it.
“I think if we pay like this, some vendors can pay only 25% and keep the rest for their business operation, I think it is good,” he said, adding that vendors were worried about low incomes and debt repayments.
Saing Kim Tea, a musical instrument seller, said the solution was appropriate and eased the burden on vendors to pay the fees upfront.
“If we pay step by step, we would spend less. It will give us some relief to pay just five years by five years, ” he said.
Another vendor Houy Sreymom was sticking to the original demand to cut fees by 50%.
“For me, I want a 50% reduction. But unless everyone agrees to ask for that we will consider it later. But my stance is the same,” she said.