By PHUWIT LIMVIPHUWAT
In the first nine months of this year, Bt230.55 billion has been invested in the EEC, showing an increase of up to 117 per cent compared to the same period last year, Duangjai Asawachintachit, BoI secretary-general, said yesterday at Government House. She was there to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“We are confident that this figure will reach Bt300 billion by the end of this year, especially with the investment promotion packages we plan to implement after today’s meeting,” she asserted. The first investment package aims to improve the country’s grassroots economy by offering tax exemptions to investors who provide training, technological aid or financial aid to local businesses in the agriculture or tourism industries.
Under this package, investors must spend at least Bt1 million in either of the two industries. If the investor chooses to invest in more than one area, they must commit at least Bt200,000 to each area, so meaningful economic development can take place, Duangjai said.
“The investor can choose to provide training or new machinery to the local community. Investors will not be required to provide aid to businesses that are in the same industry as they are,” she added.
If the investor meets these requirements, he or she will get tax exemption for three years in their current business. They will also get a tax exemption of up to 120 per cent of the total cost of the support provided to local communities, such as the cost of training or new machinery, she said.
The grassroots economy investment package will run from January 2, 2019 until the end of 2020.
Under the second package, investors will get tax exemption if they invest in the development of smart cities under the Thailand 4.0 initiative, such as spending on infrastructure, providing a “smart environment” or developing smart technology, she said.
“Companies investing in smart cities can get tax exemption for up to eight years if they fulfil all requirements. Furthermore, if these investors set their businesses up in the EEC region, they will also get an additional five years of a 50-per-cent reduction in corporate income tax,” Duangjai added.
Another BoI initiative to boost investment in the Kingdom is encouraging more companies to list in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). Once listed, these companies will get tax exemption for 100 per cent of their total investment, not including the cost of land and working capital. This initiative kicked off yesterday and will be in effect until December 30, 2020.
Despite the volatile stock market, fragile global economic situation resulting from the ongoing US-China trade war, slow growth in the third quarter and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming election, Duangjai offered assurance that both local and foreign investors still had confidence in Thailand. Though she did not disclose the target investment for 2019, she maintained that total investment in the EEC will reach Bt300 billion by the end of this year.