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NEWS UPDATES 20 July 2010

Thai Industries need tax help to go green

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The government hopes to pass a green tax by next year to encourage business operators to address the impact of their activities on climate change, says Suwit Khunkitti, the Environment and Natural Resources Minister. ‘‘As the expensive cost discourages them, we should provide them with some incentives, through tax holidays or import tariff waivers, to encourage the private sector to install clean technology he, told the Bangkok Post.

Mr. Suwit said the green tax would be an incentive for business operators to invest in waste treatment, to reuse and recycle materials, and to use renewable energy in their production, in a bid to encourage more investments in environment preservation.

He acknowledged that investments in green projects could be costly, as they could involve industrial waste incinerators, heat recovery from production processes, recycling units, renewable energy and zero-waste factory technologies.

"As the expensive cost discourages them, we should provide them with some incentives, through tax holidays or import tariff waivers, to encourage the private sector to install clean technology," Mr Suwit said at a seminar yesterday on green waste management solutions. The ministry has been working with the Finance Ministry for some time on drafting the bill, but recent political uncertainties had disrupted progress.

Incentives for using green technology for treating waste water and in the logistics business are also included in the draft, but he declined to give details.

"Although the government's tax revenue could be decreased because of the green tax, it is worthwhile, given the high cost for the government in handling industrial waste and greenhouse gas problems. This is a win-win solution for the public and private sectors," said Mr Suwit.

Business executives at the seminar applauded the idea, saying the private sector was willing to invest in green technology but the cost was too heavy for small and medium-sized operators.

Chantana Sukumanont, executive vice-president of Siam City Cement, said the company welcomed the new proposal as it could help reduce the investment burden.

"For example, our incinerator cost 1 billion baht and has an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes, but last year utilisation was only 30,000 tonnes," she said.

"We decided to invest in this, even though the business has not developed yet, because we hope it will be good in the long term, but not everyone can do this.”

Siam City Cement, Thailand's second largest cement maker, installed the new incinerator at its cement plant in Saraburi. The equipment allows the company to process industrial waste to be reused as energy.

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