People will find it easier to seek official permission from all government agencies in Thailand, as the country’s Facilitation of Official Permission Granting Act 2015 will take effect soon. It is also hoped that new law, due to come into force in July, could mean an end to demands by officials for “unofficial fees” to issue permits, licenses or registration documents. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam told a press conference that the Act was published in the Royal Gazette on 22 January 2015 and will be effective within 180 days from then. He stated that that the Act is comparable to a central law that sets steps and periods of time for relevant agencies to consider applications for official permission.
One-stop service centres will be established and clear information, including any required fees, will be provided for people seeking services from government offices. Mr. Wissanu said that over the past 10 years of Thailand’s bureaucratic reform, efforts have been made to provide quick and quality services to the general public. There are many laws that require official permission, registration, or licenses for people who want to start their business operations. However, certain laws do not set clear procedures or a specific period of time for granting official permission.
This has caused a burden to the public and obstacles to Thailand’s competitiveness in the world trade arena. In drafting the new law, he said, the principles of good governance were taken into consideration in order to increase efficiency in the public sector and reduce costs for the people. In order to facilitate the granting of official permission, a “guidebook for the people” will be offered to provide them with details about applications for various services, such as the steps for submitting documents, the length of time, and service fees. The clear information will enable the people to work out their business plans and make it possible for officials to work with greater transparency. A new channel through electronic media will also be provided, so that people will not have to come to government offices themselves for the applications.
According to the Act, the government agencies involved must inform the people seeking their services within seven days, if they cannot grant permission as scheduled. In the next step, one-stop service centers will be set up where people can seek various services in one place. Mr. Wissanu pointed out that this new Act would benefit bureaucratic reform efforts and reduce corruption, while the people will find it more convenient to receive government services. It will also help create a ‘service mind’ among government officials, and this will streamline the work process for faster action and higher customer satisfaction.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, Mr. Pongard Treekitvatanakul, said that meetings would be held in Bangkok and the provinces so that various government agencies and state enterprises could prepare their operations in accordance with the Act. The Facilitation of Official Permission Granting Act will be announced as law by July 2015.