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Board of Investment Thailand focusing on human resources, technology transfer and digitalisation of services to support Thailand 4.0

The new Secretary General of the Board of Investment (BOI) Thailand, Ms. Duangjai Asawachintachit, spoke to the international media for the first time recently, outlining some of the focus areas for supporting the Government’s Thailand 4.0 strategy. The BOI is the principal government agency for encouraging investment in the country.

She said that the BOI intends to attract more investment projects and encourage existing investors to improve production efficiency. To achieve these objectives, the BOI sees its role in the next six to 12 months from now as ensuring existing investment policy continuity.

When some of the existing promotion schemes expire at the end of this year, the BOI will consider new measures to maintain momentum and drive the country’s transformation under Thailand 4.0 model to become a value and innovation-based country.

In addition to the core incentives launched back in 2015, new promotional incentive schemes were recently introduced to continue the momentum of investment in targeted industries (there are 10 targeted industries divided into First S-curve or five existing industrial sectors, which can be developed by adding value through advanced technologies New S-curve or five sectors which can serve as growth engines to accelerate Thailand’s future growth), especially in agriculture.

Incentives for smart agriculture

Last month, BOI approved the addition of a new category for promotional privileges – Production or Service Providers for Modern Agriculture. Under this new category, projects providing services on advanced technology and automatic control system to operate farms are eligible for five-year corporate tax exemption.

The BOI has also introduced measures to promote improvement in production efficiency of existing agricultural investors through implementation of technology and machinery upgrade to meet with such international standards and certifications as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and ISO22000 Food Safety management.

Under these measures, corporate income tax holiday is offered, within a 50 per cent cap of the total investment, for the upgrade. Applications are being accepted until 2020. For production efficiency improvement, BOI is also offering a three-year corporate income tax exemption within 50 per cent cap of the total investment. In view of the good response to the measure, BOI has extended the application submission date from 2017 to 2020.

Human resources and technology transfer

Ms. Duangjai said, “Apart from those measures to continue, we will also focus on promoting investment in human resources and technology transfer to prepare our industries and people for value- and innovation based investment in the future.”

This includes incentives for investment in R&D, vocational training, technology transfer in the four core technologies – biotechnology, Nano technology, advanced materials and digital technology.

In July, BOI  established a Strategic Talent Centre (STC), to enhance the availability of required manpower in the fields of science and technology, especially for the 10 targeted S-Curve industries. The STC provides services for identifying available specialists or researchers in the fields of science and technology (S&T), thereby supporting the private sector in conducting R&D and innovation activities.

Some of the measures, especially those directed towards assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or business valued below 200 million baht (USD 6 million) will expire end of this year. The BOI will study and consider new measures to assist investment for this group of investors and to promote competitiveness in each region across the country.

Digitalisation of services

“In addition to attracting new and facilitating existing investment projects, another major role of BOI is to provide the best possible service and facilitation. We have done two things here which are service improvement and reorganization,” added Ms. Duangjai.

BOI is in the process of digitalising its services. The website services are being improved to become more interactive. Features such as push notification and single window service have been introduced for more convenient visa and work permit process.

Meanwhile, the office of BOI has undergone restructuring to meet the needs of new technology-based driven policy. The four sectoral bureaus have been reorganised into 5 sectoral divisions: creative and digital industries; bio and medical industries; advanced manufacturing; high-value services; and basic and supporting industries.

“You will see that what we are doing now is to offer promotional incentives for both demand and supply sides. We also improve our BOI’s services. We ensure transparency in our process and criteria. These will support the transformation towards Thailand 4.0 model,” said Ms. Duangjai.

Featured image: Nik Cyclist from Bangkok, Thailand (Source: Bangkok Business Area)/ Credit: CC BY 2.0

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