Tsunami chops OrBorJor income by 20pc

PHUKET CITY: The December 26, 2004, tsunami has chopped about 100 million baht, or 20%, off the expected revenue of Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) for fiscal 2005.

OrBorJor President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr told the Gazette on April 8 that the organization’s initial revenue projection of 500 million baht, from business taxes and fees, has been lowered to about 400 million due to lack of revenue from a number of sources.

Chief among these was the temporary suspension of the much-reviled 1% hotel room tax after the tsunami, which K. Anchalee expects will make provincial coffers 50 million baht lighter.

She said the hotel-tax moratorium is scheduled to end next September, but that the OrBorJor would consider extending it if the tourism industry has not returned to normal before the next high season begins.

K. Anchalee said that events following the tsunami, including the March 28 earthquake in Indonesia and the recent bombings in Haad Yai, could affect investor confidence and lower the number of new company registrations, fees for which are also a source of OrBorJor revenue.

“We are also looking at excise tax revenue, which could be affected by rising oil prices. We expect to get a clearer picture of this in the third quarter [of fiscal 2005, April-June],” she said.

K. Anchalee said that rents had also been reduced for some businesses in OrBorJor-owned facilities such as Rassada Harbor and Chalong Pier, whose revenues had declined because of the tsunami.

Expected revenue from retailers signing up for space at the OrBorJor‘s Lucky Complex duty-free project was also lower than expected.

K. Anchalee said the OrBorJor would need to prioritize expenditure to the most essential projects, but noted that, as an elected body, the OrBorJor has more fiscal flexibility than central government bodies.

“We have to continually review circumstances on the ground and adjust our revenue sources accordingly,” she said.

She noted that the OrBorJor project to construct a “welcome gateway” and rest area at Tah Chat Chai would not be affected, as central government budgets for the project for fiscal 2005 and 2006 had already been approved.

Phuket News

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