Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Focus on Foreign-Worker Scheme

Thailand’s Board of Investment has recently agreed to provide an extension to the 101 companies that wish to employ foreign workers, with the companies being given until next year in an effort to solve the manpower shortage problem that the country is currently suffering from.

Under the country’s existing system, local companies that participated in the BOI promotion were required to end the contracts of employees who are foreign by the end of the month, with about 9 thousand foreign laborers being affected or laid off.

Thailand’s Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti has said that the BOI needed to relax the regulations even if just for a short time, since Thailand is facing a serious labor shortage and they need to rectify the situation even if they must rely on foreign workers. The labor shortage is compounded by the economic crisis brought on by last year’s floods, which the country is only starting to recover from.

The BOI’s Long Term Plans

In order to support Thai workers for the long term, the BOI is planning a programme that will encourage employers to invest in skill development programs for Thai laborers. The board will also take another look at the country’s economic conditions and employment statistics in order to ensure that the decision to employ foreign workers en masse will not negatively affect the Thai economy and society.

One of BOI’s key projects designed to alleviate the country’s labor shortage, is to create recycling plants that will recycle metal fillings, which are known as electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), which will eliminate said hazardous residues from industrial production while also benefiting from the recycled products.

The plans and investment promotion for the new recycling plants will be finalised in the coming months, and there are currently four companies – with one of them being a Thai firm – asking for the BOI’s permission to set up EAFD recycling plants in Thailand.

Only 2 EAFD Plants to Be Approved

Unfortunately, BOI will only allow a maximum of two plants to be set up in the country, due to the limited amount of metal dust available. The board has not made an announcement on which companies will be approved, nor if it has already reached a decision.

Based on the plans, each plant will have the capacity for corrugation production of 30 thousand to 200 thousand tonnes of metal dust per year, while the entire country is only producing 100 thousand tonnes annually. The entire country’s supply of metal dust will be distributed between the two planned recycling plants, although there is no confirmation of the distribution will be equal or not.

BOI’s data shows that they have already approved 13 projects with a combined investment worth of THB 48.13 billion this month alone. Of the amount, THB 2.25 billion were made up of the Rojana Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya, which is one of the places that was hit hard by the 2011 floods, the funds will be used to expand the state by an extra 283 hectares. 

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