Malaysian-owned Smart Axiata Co Ltd, a leading telecommunications service provider in Cambodia, on Thursday announced that it had contributed $459 million to the Kingdom’s national economy last year, or 1.7 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
Citing its 2019 sustainability report, the company said it paid $94 million in taxes, levies and regulatory fees, with its tax payments alone representing 2.1 per cent of the total national tax income, adding that it supported nearly 50,000 jobs directly and indirectly across its value chain.
It said it “commits three per cent of its mobile service revenue every year to government-led projects that drive mobile broadband infrastructure and human capital development in the ICT [information and communications technology] sector” through its contributions to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and Capacity Building and R&D Fund (CBRDF).
The USOF and CBRDF were set up in 2017 by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in its pursuit of financing the expansion of telecoms infrastructure to Cambodia’s rural areas and building the Kingdom’s ICT capacity.
Smart Axiata said its contributions led to the ministry honouring it as “Best Contributor to the CBRD Fund” last year.
CEO Thomas Hundt said: “Honouring our commitment to the nation’s development through fulfilling our tax and regulatory fee payment obligations is at the core of our business operations while following through on our sustainability framework brings great benefits to communities where our support for digital literacy, digital education, sport and environmental protection helps to build resilience and opportunities, especially for the younger generation who are the custodians of the Kingdom’s future.
“We strive to go beyond our normal sustainability practices to help grow the digital technology ecosystem in the Kingdom – for example with our preparations to launch 5G,”
Smart Axiata noted that it successfully carried out Cambodia’s first 5G live showcase in July last year.
It noted that it was the Kingdom’s first mobile telecoms firm to launch 4G in 2014, then 4G+ in 2016, followed by 4G+ with HD Voice (VoLTE) and 4.5G in 2017.
Citing its report, it pointed out that it allocates more than $3 million, or more than one per cent of its annual reserves, to its corporate social responsibility programmes in the fields of education, the environment, community sports and technological innovation.
Through the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, it said it has invested more than $2 million in eight locally-based digital start-ups, which have provided more than 1,400 jobs and have generated $2.7 million in combined revenue.
It highlighted that the start-ups feature technologies such as the Internet of Things and chatbots to deliver digital solutions to Cambodians across various sectors.