Fresh carrot to stir interest in ailing SEZs

Fresh carrot to stir interest in ailing SEZs

An aerial view of Mukdahan, one of the 10 provinces chosen by the government to host special economic zones. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL
An aerial view of Mukdahan, one of the 10 provinces chosen by the government to host special economic zones. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

The Treasury Department will offer private investors a waiver on rental fees for state land in special economic zones (SEZs) near neighbouring countries for up to two years if they develop the rented areas within one year of signing the contracts.

The incentive is aimed at encouraging tenants of state land in SEZs to speed up development of rented areas in industrial estates, while drawing new investors to the zones, said Amornrat Klamplob, deputy director-general of the Treasury Department.

In the event that an investor renting state land in an SEZ develops the land within two years, the investor will get a one-year rental fee waiver, she said.

The incentive will be considered by the Special Economic Zones Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before being forwarding to the cabinet.

The government decided a few years ago to set up industrial estates in SEZs in 10 provinces, focusing on agriculture, industry, logistics and tourism.

The 10 designated provinces are Tak, Sa Kaeo, Songkhla, Trat, Mukdahan, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Narathiwat, Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai.

The Treasury Department in February set lenient conditions for the bidding to develop state land into SEZs after receiving a lukewarm response from putting 2,693 rai -- 718 rai in Nong Khai, 1,080 rai in Mukdahan and 895 rai in Trat -- under the hammer last year.

In last year's auction, Property Perfect Plc was the only company to bid on developing land in Trat province. It won the bid.

The relaxed conditions include land development experience in wider fields, an extension of development proposal submissions, changes in construction cost presentation models, and permission for winners to sublease their developed land.

Ms Amornrat said investors will also get extra points at the state land rental auctions if they pledge to set aside some areas in industrial estates for rent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that want to set up a production base.

With regard to a request by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to develop an industrial estate for SMEs on 500 rai of land in Kanchanaburi province, Ms Amornrat said the Treasury Department will offer the cheapest rental fee of 1,200 baht per rai per year, plus a land utilisation fee of 400 baht per rai per year.

The department has set aside 2,900 rai of state land in Kanchanaburi province to be developed into industrial estates, with 500 rai to be handled by the FTI.

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