THE JOINT Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) is to propose a change to immigration policy, urging the government to consider issuing visas and work permits to foreigners based on their work skills in order to accommodate foreign investment under the “Thailand 4.0” master plan.
Predee Daochai, chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association and chair of yesterday’s JSCCIB meeting, said the panel had agreed that the country should have a clearer framework for immigration policy.
This is because under the strategy to develop super-clusters and 10 targeted industries under the “new S-curve”, Thailand needs experts such as skilled young talent and research and development specialists from overseas, he explained.
To encourage such expatriates to work in the Kingdom, visa and work permits should be issued based on the type of work involved and a person’s skills to perform that work, he said.
However, a Supreme Court ruling on May 16 on corporate-tax exemption, in which it dismissed a Board of Investment-promoted company’s arguments against tax assessment by the Revenue Department, could reduce confidence among Thai and foreign investors, and the JSCCIB therefore wants the government to take action over the case, he said.
Although the Investment Promotion Act prescribes the exemption from tax on a company’s BoI-promoted project profits, this does not override the prescription under the Revenue Code concerning the method of tax computation for companies with BoI-promoted projects.
The unclear picture in regard to private investment and the year-on-year drop in the country’s exports in April were matters of concern highlighted at yesterday’s meeting, the chairman said.
Moreover, despite positive signs for domestic consumption due to rising car sales, sluggish incomes in the agricultural sector and ongoing caution in the household spending sector are still putting pressure on the country’s economic growth.
The JSCCIB decided to maintain its forecast for gross-domestic-product growth this year at 3 per cent-3.5 per cent, but it will closely monitor the export situation and the progress of mega-projects based on the private sector’s own review in these key areas, Predee said.
Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said investors were beginning to adjust their own investment plans following the government’s move on its mega-projects, whereas normally, private investment lagged state investment by six months.
The picture for private investment will improve from the second half of the year onwards, he predicted.