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By SNS Cambodia

Latest Update on COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 128+ million people around the world, resulting in more than 2.81 million deaths (Worldometer March 31, 2021). The increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide has changed how we live and work, and Cambodia is no exception.

Cambodia Private Sector survey

According to the recent UNIDO Cambodia Private Sector survey, the impact on revenue is evident in medium-sized enterprises and employment in the tourism and garment industries reported the highest number of layoffs. And all enterprises are expected severely affected, the pandemic has caused a number of challenges but the most significant ones that surveyed enterprises faced are:

  • Impact on revenues
  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on overall business operations
  • Impact on business finance
  • Impact on access to work and effective working arrangement
  • Impact of government’s measures/restrictions on business operations
  • Availability of cash to maintain operations
  • Other

Leadership in the crisis

COVID-19 Pandemic is the greatest crisis of the century; it’s now prolonged over a year already and can’t predict when it would be gone. We believe all crisis arrived it’s always will be finish, it’s about safety of people and the role of leadership in this crisis time to help people. It’s about how can the business leader help their people through this crisis – how to protect people health & safety? How people are working now? And pro-actions are required – how we exit from this crisis time to the new normal?

  • No wrong & no right, everyone need to go together to identify a smart solution that ensure none stoppable activities
  • We believe the process + technologies could help you to continue business activities (COVID-19 as an accelerator of digitalization)
  • Beware that we are living with modern technologies, it could help you (like Zoom meeting, and many other solutions)
  • At the moment, you have more time to do strategic consideration & a planning

Looking Ahead

There is still significant uncertainty for 2021 – though outlook, it is now more positive compared early this year in terms of availabilities of vaccine & vaccination campaign in Cambodia. Below are the key points for business leaders to be focused on:

1. HR, Compensation & benefits

  • Keep pull into market to ensure competiveness – The market is still moving and disruption will drive new patterns as we are in the move on 2021.
  • Streamline merit planning and other compensation administration activities to stay agile – Decisions are likely to be delay or change.
  • Make the most of your budget – Organization with smaller budget are increasing differentiation (performance, skills and competitiveness) and limiting eligible populations.
  • Enhanced focus on rewarding critical skills.

2. The need for transformation

Refocusing attention – 99% of companies are embarking on transformation. But you need to know, there are the challenges in the transformation process such workforce capability, ability to finance change and of understanding the need for transformation, and Apathy and change resistance.

3. Restructuring to Drive Change

98% of execs are planning organizational design change this year. Predicting the future is tough, with economic and political uncertainty and technological advances.

4. Other responsive actions

  • Cost containment strategies and workforce composition changes begin to slowly recover and ease.
  • Focus on company performance that can be shared.
  • Reformulated inventive plans, as new normal it would not be going to be the same as it used to be.
  • New way of works, methods & tools
  • Transfer of all working methods

5. The support from Cambodian Government

Due to the ongoing pandemic, preventive measures put in place by the government has continued to negatively impact the business operations. However, some enterprises were compensated to some extents with the support packages offered by the government under eligible criteria as set by the government. Evidence has shown that government intervention offered so far to MSMEs is unprecedented. Among all the government’s measures, reductions of rent and taxes for SMEs and the extension of loan terms are the main measures that enterprises would want to have continued. And the followings are cited as most helpful measures:

  • Reduction of rent for SMEs, reduction of tax rates/deferral of taxes;
  • Temporary reduction of social insurance premiums and reimbursement of unemployment insurance to enterprises that do not lay off staff;
  • Reduced rates for the use of electricity, gas, and logistics in selected sectors (industry, agriculture, trade, and services)

[Ref. UNIDO Cambodia Private Sector survey, 2021]