Call for faster restructuring, incentive tweaks at BoI

Call for faster restructuring, incentive tweaks at BoI

The Board of Investment (BoI) and related agencies are being ordered to speed up a restructuring of the BoI and a rejig of investment privileges in order to lure investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the BoI to speed up its organisational restructuring and privilege structures to entice more investment, in addition to authorising Mr Wissanu to take charge of the restructuring.

He plans to work closely with Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, prime minister's adviser Thosaporn Sirisamphand, and the BoI to restructure the BoI and its privileges to comply with global changes and make the BoI more competitive to attract investors.

"Gen Prayut wants related agencies to finalise as soon as possible the BoI's restructuring. If BoI laws need amendments, the government should propose them to parliament," said Mr Wissanu.

"The BoI proposed the agency only needs more human resources, but I suggest this is not enough. The board needs to restructure its internal organisation and privileges have to be more competitive to lure foreign investors with many choices."

A source from Government House who requested anonymity said that a BoI restructuring is desperately needed, as the government aims to attract four groups of wealthy foreigners -- wealthy global citizens, wealthy pensioners, remote work professionals and highly skilled professionals -- as well as promote startups.

The government expects to attract more than a million qualified people to Thailand in the next five years.

In late December last year, BoI secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit said the BoI itself is revising the country's strategic investment promotion plan to make it align with updated national and global trends.

The new strategic investment plan is scheduled for implementation in early 2023 once the current eight-year plan expires in December this year.

The current plan was originally expected to run for seven years, between 2015 and 2021. On Dec 20 last year, the BoI board approved a one-year extension of the plan until Dec 31, 2022.

She said with various global investment trends having changed such as greenhouse gas emission requirements, evolving technology, the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks, bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic development, and medical and S-curve industries, the BoI needs to improve Thailand's investment policy for enhanced competitiveness and to conform with real investment situations.

According to Ms Duangjai, the new strategic plan aims to upgrade Thailand in terms of high technology, focusing mainly on R&D, the BCG economic model, the medical and wellness sector and S-curve industries.

The agency will continue to promote new S-curve industries, which is the government's priority policy to adjust Thailand's manufacturing towards higher technology.

"The policy to drive R&D will be continued because it is the key factor to upgrade innovation," she said.

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