Gov lobbies for lower import duty on yachts

PHUKET TOWN: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi yesterday urged a panel of central government financial experts to reduce the import duty on yachts. “Import taxes on yachts are too high. If charges and taxes were lower, more investors would import boats legally,” he said. The governor made his comments at a meeting to discuss provincial financial relations with the central government at the Pearl Hotel on Montri Rd. Officials at the meeting also pondered the possibility of giving Phuket duty-free status, an idea that has been floated and discussed by various parties quite often over the past 10 years. “Even if we can’t be a duty-free port now, perhaps we can be a duty-free zone first,” said Gov Pongpayome. “Look at Singapore, where the government has been operating ‘zero tax’ [sic: GST @ 3% since October 1999] on goods and products.” The Governor, however, failed to mention that Phuket has already been given the green light for duty-free stores, with the Phuket Customs Office on June 15 having no less than 30 applications for stores to be allowed to sell goods duty-free. Burin Hiranburana, leader of the Bangkok delegation and a member of key committees on finance and revenue, said that Phuket, like Chiang Mai, could not be an unrestricted duty-free port because it would cost the central government revenue. On a different tack, Phuket Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pamuke Achariyachai (actually) suggested that Phuket cease paying income tax to the central government for 10 years. “That would allow the province to use the tax to improve roads and infrastructure, and the sustainability of Phuket ecotourism. “Residents are always curious about where their taxes have been spent, so this may help Phuket to realize more benefits,” K. Pamuke ventured.

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