Development plan for robotics gets nod

Development plan for robotics gets nod

Automated machinery on display at a trade fair in Bangkok. The government wants to develop robotics as part of its Thailand 4.0 policy.
Automated machinery on display at a trade fair in Bangkok. The government wants to develop robotics as part of its Thailand 4.0 policy.

The cabinet yesterday approved a robotics development plan as the state pushes to enhance a 200-billion-baht investment scheme for the industry over the next five years.

The cabinet also approved a slew of measures to support the development of robotics and other targeted industries to keep up with the Thailand 4.0 policy.

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said the measures are aimed at encouraging the manufacturing and service sectors to increase productivity through the use of robotics and automation systems.

Participating firms will enjoy privileges from the Board of Investment (BoI), including a 50% reduction in corporate tax for three years, as long as the companies keep working in the related high-tech sectors.

The Finance Ministry will also allow participating firms to deduct 300% of corporate tax for research and development expenditures.

The Budget Bureau aims to encourage state agencies' efforts to integrate robotics into public services by supporting them through the procurement process.

Mr Uttama said the Industry Ministry also supports soft loans for small and medium-sized enterprises looking to improve their production processes through related systems.

He said the government will further support the development of so-called system integrators (SIs).

The state aims to increase the number of SIs to 1,400 over the next five years, up from 200.

Apart from enjoying BoI investment privileges, the Finance Ministry will waive import duties for parts and equipment to manufacture robotics and automation systems.

The government also aims to help companies establish centres of robotics excellence with the participation of eight selected educational institutions.

Mr Uttama said under the measure, the government seeks to generate investment of 12 billion baht in the first year, reaching 200 billion over the next five years.

The government projects half of those in the manufacturing and services sectors will use robotics in five years' time, up from 30% at present.

The government also seeks to develop 50 prototypes for robotics and automation systems.

Mr Uttama said the development plan is expected to reduce the import of robotics and automation systems by 132 billion baht annually.

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