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Investors stay away from Thailand's restive South
Publication Date : 05-08-2012
Investment in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand had remained sluggish for several years now due to security concerns, the country's Board of Investment (BOI) said yesterday.
MCOT online quoted BOI secretary-general Atchaka Sriboonruang as saying that safety concerns were a major factor for stagnating investments in the restive region, as investors were scared to invest their money there, while existing industries in the area, including para rubber, oil palm, seafood processing and Halal food, were under-performing.
Atchaka said the region has three special industrial promotion zones and has been granted privileges such as eight-year exemption from corporate tax, followed by a further 50-per-cent reduction of tax for an additional five years.
The finance ministry will have to decide if more privileges should be offered to further attract investors, but security agencies also have to create more confidence about safety measures for businesses, she said.
Atchaka said that investors in the restive provinces were not interested in investing overseas, which is in sharp contrast with those in other regions including Bangkok, who have been hit by rising minimum wage rates and are seeking to expand their businesses such as clothing, shoes and auto-parts manufacturing into neighbouring countries.
Last week, local entrepreneurs urged the BOI to provide additional privileges to encourage more investment in the area, including the setting-up of a special economic zone and extending the exemption of corporate income tax to 20 years from the current eight years.
Meanwhile, Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) secretary-general Thawee Sodsong joined a meeting yesterday with provincial Islamic committees in five southern border provinces (Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Satun) and presented them some assistance money to aid their operations.
Thawee said the government had approved a 53.53-million baht (US$1.7 million) budget to assist the committees, combined with SBPAC's fund of 10 million baht.
The payment was based on the number of mosques at 7,000 baht per year per mosque, he explained. It included a special allowance hike from 3,500 baht to 7,000 baht for each committee chairman, a new special allowance payment of 5,000 baht to each committee member per month, and a special allowance hike from 1,200 baht to 3,000 baht per month for each imam.
(1 baht = $0.0317)