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PM targets improvement in ease of doing business

Nov 06. 2015
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Registration of business to take only one day and construction permit process to be speeded up
THE PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given priority to policies which involve increasing the ease of doing business in Thailand, the government has said.
The registering of a business will now take only one working day while other major barriers, such as the process required to get a construction permit, will be simplified this quarter, said Somkid Jatusripitak, deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs.
“The prime minister chaired a meeting today [of the Council of Economic Ministers] for the first time because he sees the increase in the ease of doing business, or the eradication of business and investment barriers, as one of the most important aspects that will increase the investments in Thailand,” Somkid said.
The Kingdom’s ranking in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report for 2016 has slipped from 46th place in 2015 to 49th among the 189 economies covered.
“Our ranking has dropped partly because of our complacency, as we were comfortable with where we were so certain things have not been improve,” he said.
“And another reason might be because there are so many government agencies that do not communicate with the international community. Therefore, they do not have enough understanding of what we are doing, which led to the undesirable result after the assessment.” 
Somkid said these problems were easy to fix since they were like “taking home maths homework” and you had a list of what needed to be done.
The first step towards fixing the problems was the Commerce Ministry and Labour Ministry shortening the business registration process via the introduction of a one-stop service at the ministries.
The Industry Ministry had earlier shortened the time required to obtain a Ror Ngor 4 permit for manufacturing operations from a maximum of 90 days to no more than 30 days.
The ministry and the Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning are working on ways to simplify the process required to obtain a construction licence and should announce the details this quarter. 
The process required for a project to get environmental impact assessment approval is also expected to be reduced through greater collaboration, the use of existing data and using foreign firms to help with EIA assessments especially large projects such as road and rail constructions. 
“The ministries said they were ready to make this work today and we will have to see the response from the private sector regarding their effectiveness,” Somkid said. 
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval process, especially for permits to sell medication, is expected to be shortened by increasing the department’s staff numbers and providing it with the equipment needed for inspections.
Prime Minister Prayut promised the department at yesterday’s meeting that this would happen, as the country is trying to promote medical clusters, Somkid revealed. 
“The main issues regarding the ease of doing business in Thailand will be solved by the fourth quarter of this year and there will be another follow-up meeting to find out if there is progress and to see if the barriers are still there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Special Economic Zones Committee will be transform into a community to promote foreign and domestic investment in the clusters and the border SEZs that are being created with a tasked to lure foreign investors and encourage domestic businesses to invest now.
“The stimulus measures that have been introduced are beginning to take effect…so we need the increases in private investment to come in and support the measures to increase domestic consumption and government spending that has introduced at the right time in order to propelled the economic momentum and then the U or V shaped recovery will be possible,” he concluded.
“Within the fourth quarter the capital that we have injected into the economic system will start to take effect where two-third of it have been disbursed and there is already creating momentum so we need to increase the amount of foreign investment, encourage our own to invest and to improve the ease of doing business in this country to improve our rating” he added.

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