Panel wants end to licensing nightmare

Panel wants end to licensing nightmare

The Law Reform committee estimates there are some 700,000 different business licences, and is preparing a submission that will request the government eliminate 699,000 of them.
The Law Reform committee estimates there are some 700,000 different business licences, and is preparing a submission that will request the government eliminate 699,000 of them.

A law reform panel is to ask the government to vastly curb the amount of paperwork involved in issuing licences to businesses.

At the moment there are about 700,000 different kinds of licensing forms circulating nationwide and the panel wants to reduce this number to 1,000 to cut down on local authority budgets and standardise processes.

Borwornsak Uwanno, chairman of the panel responsible for looking into ways to streamline the bureaucracy and related laws, said efforts are being made to improve or repeal regulations which impede business operations.

"The Licensing Facilitation Act and more than 24 relevant laws need to be amended while a new piece of legislation needs to be rolled out to boost the ease of doing business," he said.

The panel is also about to propose a bill on the promotion of social enterprises along with new legislation concerning unclaimed assets, such as idle bank accounts and funds, which would enable the recovered money to be used in the public interest, according to Mr Borwornsak.

He was speaking at a recent seminar on Thai law reforms in Bangkok.

PM's Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakul, who also chairs a subcommittee looking into the laws governing business operations, said the cabinet will be asked to vastly reduce the paperwork and related procedures involved in setting up a new company.

Around 700,000 different documents governing business-related licences are currently used by the central and local administrations. Many of these forms need revoking as they have become obsolete, Mr Kobsak said.

He said the panel aims to reduce the total amount of documents related to licensing to about 1,000 which will be used nationally and will help to do away with red tape and ease the burden of doing business.

According to the minister, certain procedures need to be merged and handled by one agency so people who will no longer need to seek approval to run their businesses from many state agencies. No word was to hand on how much it is likely to save businesses on compliance costs.

However, the streamlining of these legal processes will lead to savings in the national budget, he said, adding: "Each law repealed or merged is estimated to save around one billion baht."

The prime minister has instructed agencies to review procedures involved in seeking licenses within both the retail and construction sector. State agencies will be encouraged to upload relevant laws to their websites to ensure people have easier access to the information.

Mr Borwornsak said he is also in the process of drafting a law on social enterprises as many people want to take part in businesses which provide assistance to their local communities.

The legislation is set to be forwarded to the cabinet within two weeks and likely to be enforced in April, he noted. Another bill on community banks will also be presented at the cabinet meeting this week.

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