ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai investment may fall short of goal
"Applications for investment privileges are expected to be closer to 400 billion baht this year," said Atchaka Sibunruang, the agency's secretary-general.
Applications in the first 10 months increased to 1,243 from 880 a year earlier, with a combined value of 337.7 billion baht, a 4 percent increase from 323.9 billion in the same period last year.
Applications for BoI incentives last year totalled 1,573 projects worth 723.4 billion baht, the highest figure for 40 years. That included foreign applications for 788 projects worth 350.75 billion baht, up by 18 percent from 2008.
"Next year will be a golden year for small and medium-sized enterprises," said Dr Atchaka, adding that the BoI planned to increase the investment cap for SMEs in all sectors from 20 million baht to 80 million.
Industry Minister Chaiwuti Bannawat said the number of projects this year would reach its target, but their value would not.
He believes investment next year will improve due to an improved economy globally and in Thailand, a more stable baht and an improved political situation.
"Many projects that are interested in investing next year are switching investment bases from other countries such as China, Vietnam and Japan, which include the auto parts and SME sectors," he said.
Concerning the Finance Ministry's proposal to reform the corporate income tax structure and remove tax privileges for investment, Dr. Atchaka said investors also looked at other issues such as social and political stability, the economic situation and labour issues.
"If the government does not give us anything, we'll have to do the best we can. Many countries offer many incentives for large projects, but since we only have tax privileges, it will be hard [for us]," she said.
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