Ministry mulls incentives to lure investors

Ministry mulls incentives to lure investors

The Finance Ministry's list of short-term measures designed to boost private investment is expected to be ready next month, while long-term measures will be finalised in the next two months.

Kanit Saengsuphan, chairman of the Finance Ministry committee tasked with creating measures to attract more private investment, said the government must now identify which industries should be given incentives and ask potential investors if the privileges, due to be launched soon, will be tempting enough for them to beef up investment here.

Such a proactive approach differs from the previous approach of policymakers issuing measures they believed would attract investors and waiting for them to apply for privileges, he said.

"If we want to attract industries that can serve as a new growth engine for the Thai economy such as robots or aeroplane parts, we must approach them about investing here by offering measures they really need," Mr Kanit said.

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong recently said his ministry's incentives would be aimed at industries considered essential to driving the country into a new S-shaped growth curve and steering the economy through its slowdown.

Private investment, which accounts for 27% of Thai GDP, is a crucial engine driving economic growth in the long run and helping the country to escape the middle-income trap.

Mr Kanit said several countries would send officials to draw investors in targeted industries instead of idly waiting for them to invest like in the past.

The government should target aviation, research and development (R&D) in the automobile industry and biotechnology to persuade them to invest in Thailand, he said.

The country should move towards green industries, and it must specify which type of industry should be developed in which area -- for instance, the biotechnology industry would be developed in the Northeast.

Mr Kanit's comment echoed Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak's recent remarks that the government was developing a new package of incentives for investment in green industries on the Eastern Seaboard as part of a comprehensive package to stimulate the sluggish economy.

Tax incentives would be only one part of the measures to draw investment, he said, adding that non-tax privileges were more important for advanced-technology industries that depended on R&D.

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