The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) is urging investors to focus on enhancing productivity and efficiency through automation and human resource training by taking advantage of the key promotion measures offered to them, in order to prepare for the economic recovery expected in 2021.
“We are now focusing not only on attracting new investment projects but given the economic situation we also believe it necessary to make existing ones more productive, to have a higher level of productivity which is a critical issue for Thailand to move forward,” Ms Duangjai Asawachintachit, Secretary General of the BOI, told a Webinar titled “Support Measures for Economic Recovery” that was co-hosted by the Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT).
For 2020, Thailand’s Finance Ministry anticipates a 8.1 percent contraction of the GDP, with a progressive improvement from the third quarter which should lead to a rebound in 2021.
“Looking forward I think we can expect the economy to gradually pick up in the remaining half of this year,” said Pisit Puapan, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Bureau of the Thai Finance Ministry.
“For 2021 the Ministry of Finance expects the Thai economy to rebound and show a positive growth rate of four to five percent,” Pisit said.
“I think the Covid 19 crisis has reiterated the necessity for us to move forward to more automation and robotics, so we are encouraging companies to invest in automation to become more efficient or have better products at lower costs,” Ms Duangjai said.
“So we are now offering tax incentives for companies that would like to invest in new machinery, to replace existing ones, for the purpose of energy conservation or to use lower energy or to reduce the impact on the environment.”
Another key area for promotion is in training and development of human resources, again with an emphasis on both new and existing projects.
Thailand has faced a surge in furlough as a result of the lockdowns in April-May in response to the Covid pandemic, and the threat of burgeoning unemployment in the coming months or years is real, although the worst of the economic impact was no doubt felt in the second quarter of 2020.
“We think that Thailand will find herself in a totally new environment. Deglobalisation has already taken place,” said Charl Kengchon, Executive Chairman of the Kasikorn Research Center.
“Pandemic and fear of pandemic after Covid is not going to help global trade because increasingly more and more government will come to the realisation that public health in fact is a kind of national security issue and they are going to implement safeguards on health care and there are going to be non-tariff barriers because of that,” he said.
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