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Ministry: $17 billion invested, 100K jobs created in six months

Thailand’s Ministry of Industry said last week that cutting red tape helped attract over $17 billion worth of investment in the industrial sector and created over 100,000 jobs during the past six months, while the Board of Investment said the value of investments during the first quarter of this year was six times higher than during the same period last year.
 
The positive economic news provides early indicators that Thailand’s economy, which has been sluggish during the past year, is reawakening and poised for another period of solid growth. Thai exports have faltered recently amid weak economic recoveries in many of its main overseas markets, but the ministry’s figures are strong evidence that investors still hold a favorable view of the Kingdom as a place to do business.
 
Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukvanich said that shortening the period needed to obtain approvals to build new factories had helped Thailand compete for investment, along with removal of other ‘procedural obstacles.’ Whereas it used to take 90 days to receive approval for a new factory, now it takes just 30 days. That helped speed approvals for over 900 applications. The key was the government pushing various agencies to cooperate more closely and streamline procedures.
 
“For the one-year performance, we expect to boost total investment value to about $30 billion, depending on the country's political situation and the economy,” Chakramon said.
 
The ministry reported that it issued 6,000 operating licenses over six months, covering 2,528 factories, both new and expanded, with investment valued at over $7 billion and an estimated 92,983 jobs created.
 
Chakramon said he believes the value of border trade can triple with the promotion of special economic zones (SEZs). The Commerce Ministry has set a target of $45 billion for 2015 with the establishment of zones in six border provinces: Tak, Sa Kaeo, Songkhla, Trat, Mukdahan and Nong Khai.
 
The zones should not only spread development to outlying areas and further integrate regional economies, but also serve as a deterrent to human trafficking, as migrants from neighboring countries will be eligible to work legally in those locations and not have to turn to traffickers to enter Thailand and find employment.
 
The Board of Investment (BOI), meanwhile, said it had approved promotional privileges for 793 investment projects worth a total of $6.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, over six times the value of approvals during the same period last year.
 
The sector that received the most investment was services and public utilities at $2 billion, followed by electrical and electronic projects at $1.7 billion, and chemical, plastic and paper at $1.1 billion.
 
See the original article at Thailand focus

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