BoI to streamline approvals

B729bn in investment applications pending

The new Board of Investment (BoI) called its first meeting yesterday and pledged to accelerate approvals for pending investment applications worth 729 billion baht.

A worker photographs progress at Suvarnabhumi airport. The new BoI met for the first time yesterday and hopes to clear its backlog of investment applications in three to four months.

Caretaker Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said the board's first meeting yesterday chaired by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra agreed to set up a sub-committee comprising 19 members chaired by the BoI's secretary-general to vet investment applications.

The sub-committee is empowered and authorised to consider and approve large-scale investment projects worth from 200 million baht to 750 million. It is also tasked with screening and proposing projects with values in excess of 750 million baht for the main board's consideration and approval.

Mr Prasert, who is also a BoI vice-chairman, said the main board is expected to take about three to four months to consider all pending investment applications. The board kept its annual target of 900 billion baht this year.

Normally, the committee of the BoI board meets every month, but there has not been a board since October when members' terms expired a month before anti-government protests began.

The caretaker government finally received the approval of the Election Commission and Council of State on the legitimacy of new members appointed by the caretaker government.

Some 407 projects worth a combined 729 billion baht applied for BoI privileges. They include 136 large-scale projects worth over 750 million baht each, with a combined 521.76 billion of investment cost. Another 271 projects were valued at less than 750 million baht each with a combined cost of 207.24 billion.

The BoI reports 291 projects worth 234 billion baht applied for investment privileges in the first quarter, down by 48% and 10% year-on-year, respectively.

However, foreign direct investment still rose, with nearly 202 billion baht in value for 197 projects sent to the BoI, up by 28% year-on-year in value but down by 41% for projects.

Most projects were for the second phase of the eco-car scheme, while other major projects submitted in the first quarter included those for home appliances, power plants, petrochemicals and metal products.

About the author

Writer: Chatrudee Theparat
Position: Business Reporter