State urged to go business-friendly
The government is urgently addressing 10 areas that need to be improved to make it easier to do business in Thailand, in a bid to make the country one of the top 30 business-friendly destinations next year.
State agencies must improve the 10 areas seen as stumbling blocks to doing business, before reporting their progress to a special committee in January, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
If anything further needs to be fixed, the state will have 4-5 months before the World Bank starts its next Ease of Doing Business survey, he said.
The 10 weak areas have been analysed by the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission.
Thailand's ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report for 2017, which surveyed 190 countries, climbed to 46th from 49th in the previous year. Thailand, according to the same report, ranks ninth in Asia and lags behind only Singapore and Malaysia in Asean.
The government has focused on improving the country's business-friendly ranking in a bid to attract much-needed investment and it has seriously reduced red tape since last year.
Mr Somkid said getting electricity for a business is an area the World Bank considered Thailand needed to address. The committee agreed to outsource the job to the private sector to streamline the process.
Tax payment is another area that needs to be improved and the Finance Ministry has floated the idea of one account system, in which each taxpayer will use only one number for all types of tax payments, including corporate and personal income tax, land tax and refunds.
The single account will also make it easier for taxpayers to check their payment history, he said.
Other areas include starting a business, dealing with construction permits and registering property.
The committee has proposed using an electronic channel to streamline procedures and shorten the time required to open a new business, said Mr Somkid, adding that electronic tools will also be used to improve property registration.
With regard to construction permits, the committee agreed to reduce procedures in seeking construction permits, tighten control over building quality and impose tougher penalties for projects that fail to meet legal requirements.
Mr Somkid also urged related state agencies to work more aggressively to raise Thailand's business-friendly ranking.
For example, the director-general of the Legal Execution Department has travelled to Washington to report on Thailand's legal execution process to the World Bank with the aim of helping the country gain a higher score in this area.
To facilitate the move towards Thailand 4.0 next year, all ministries must go digital to comply with the e-government initiative in the next two years, he said.