New Licensing Act designed to cut ‘red tape’
The Licensing Facilitation Act of 2015 has been approved by the National Assembly and officially came into force in July. The central aim of this new piece of legislation is to create a one-stop service for the licensing application process. By centralising and co-ordinating the necessary licensing step, it should help foreign investors receive their licences at a faster pace than previously, and certainly within a specified period of time.
There are apparently quite strict penalties built into the legislation which can see those tasked with processing the necessary permits and licences face potential criminal prosecution if they fail to clearly lay out the requirements, processing time and related fees for foreign investors.
In a speech to the European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC) in June, the deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam was quoted as saying, “A tope priority is to create a legal and bureaucratic environment conducive to international commerce and business development, one that supports efficiently functioning markets and competition.”
The military-installed government is keen to attract greater foreign investment into Thailand, and it recognises that foreign investors, especially from Europe and other Western nations are faced with a variety of choices for their investment funds in the Southeast Asian region and anything which helps to reduce ‘red tape’ and make the process of setting up easier and smoother can only be of long-term benefit to Thailand.
According to the government there can be as many as 2,500 activities related to the licensing application and granting process, and so the new legislation is designed to really slash this convoluted and ultimately detrimental process.
The Act is also aimed at reforming the Thai bureaucracy and enhance transparency and accountability and raise public service standards.
The next step, as far as the government is concerned, is to overhaul the processes involved in procurement so that foreigners are better able to transact business with state agencies.
Naturally, the speech to the EABC was greeted with approval. According to some sources, European investors are currently ranked as the third-highest when it comes to investing in the Asean region, behind Japan and the United States.
The president of the EABC, Rolf-Dieter Daniel, was reported as saying the new legislation showed the government was serious about creating a more transparent and streamlined system to attract foreign investment.
He said it made European investors “feel more confident about investing in Thailand, and we’re confident that the existing companies still feel that investing in Thailand is promising.”