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Investment proposals in Thailand to exceed US$24.3b this year: PM
[BANGKOK] The value of proposed investment in Thailand should exceed 800 billion baht (US$24.3 billion) this year, beating a government target and reflecting greater confidence after a May coup ended unrest, the army chief who launched the coup said on Monday.
The latest value of investment applications was 760 billion baht and so "it should definitely surpass 800 billion baht for the whole year," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who stepped down as army chief after the coup, told an investment seminar.
That compares with a 700 billion baht target of the Board of Investment (BOI), which provides investment incentives.
In 2013, total net applications were worth about one trillion baht. This year, interest in investment has been hit by prolonged political turmoil.
The army took power in May saying it had to step in to restore order and business confidence.
Mr Prayuth said the economy was recovering and he expected stronger growth next year.
"The economy has improved from a contraction earlier this year. It's better but not that satisfying. We hope next year will be better, with growth of 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent," he said.
This month, he said he expected economic growth of only 2 per cent to 3 per cent next year.
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy grew only 0.2 per cent in the first nine months.
Last week, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said full-year growth could be less than one per cent due to weak exports and slow public spending. That would be the slowest growth since devastating flooding of 2011.
On Monday, the BOI announced strategies for next year to encourage investors.
Among them will be tax exemption of up to 8 years, and exemption of import duty on machinery or raw materials for industries that focus on areas such as research and development, electronics designs, aircraft manufacturing and aircraft parts.
Tax incentives will also be given to those investing in 20 provinces with the country's lowest per capita income, four border provinces in the deep south, and in the government's special economic zones.