BoI readies job retention scheme for board approval

BoI readies job retention scheme for board approval

The Board of Investment (BoI) is preparing to propose its job retention scheme to the government to help authorities cope with a high unemployment rate from Covid-19 impact.

The scheme, designed to help companies retain their workforce until the economic recovery, is scheduled to be tabled at a BoI board meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, next month.

"Our job retention scheme is a new stimulus package," said BoI secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit. "We have many solutions in it to present to the board."

She would not reveal details, saying only that the scheme is related to companies' operating costs and salaries for employees.

The scheme, Ms Duangjai said, will be attractive to businesses because it will bolster purchasing power.

The BoI will also ask the board to extend the period for the Thailand Plus investment incentive programme, which expires Dec 31, to continue efforts to draw foreign investment.

This scheme was primarily designed for investors considering relocating their production bases as a result of the US-China trade war. But now it can also help increase foreign investment during the coronavirus crisis.

The BoI will also suggest the board approve new investment incentives for clinical research, especially medicines and vaccines, to make Thailand a hub of the medical industry in Asean.

"The pandemic fuelled growth in the healthcare industry, so Thailand should not miss the opportunity to support investment in this field," Ms Duangjai said.

From January to June, the BoI received applications for investment privileges for 45 projects in the medical equipment sector, worth more than 13 billion baht.

According to the BoI, the value of all investment proposals in the first half fell by 17% year-on-year to 159 billion baht on Covid-19 impact and fewer large-scale projects. But the number of proposals rose by 7% year-on-year to 754.

"The BoI is confident that the investment value for proposed projects throughout this year will not be lower than 218 billion baht, because the economy has bottomed out and many industries are recovering," Ms Duangjai said.

The estimate is the lowest investment value recorded in 2015 by the BoI.

Ms Duangjai said the BoI has restructured to suit the government's plan to promote new targeted industries and highly advanced technology.

Under the new restructure, investment promotion units will be set up to focus on targeted industries like modern agriculture, biotechnology and medical technology.

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