COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM-RBOI) has approved a P3.7-billion investment project, that will create thousands of jobs in at least four municipalities, an official said.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman of the ARMM-RBOI, said his agency has just approved on Tuesday the registration of Al-Sahar Agri Ventures Inc., the biggest project in the history of ARMM amounting to P3.7 billion.
“With the addition of the Al-Sahar investment, RBOI has now recorded a total of P5.5 billion worth of investments since the beginning of the year,” Mastura said.
The company is investing in cavendish banana plantations in the province of Maguindanao covering 2,600 hectares spread in the municipalities of Talayan, Buldon, Barira, and Mangudadatu. The project is expected to create 3,900 jobs in the province.
The Al-Sahar is an affiliate company of Unifrutti Group of Companies, which also manages other companies like La Frutera Inc., Wao Development Corporation and Mount Kalatungan Agri Ventures Inc. that are all operating within ARMM, according to Ed Bullecer, director of Al-Sahar.
“Our company is here in ARMM to help uplift the lives of the people and help propel economic development in the region,” Bullecer said.
He also said that the increasing demand in the world market for cavendish bananas particularly in the Middle East and China post a great challenge and business opportunity for agri investors like the Unifrutti Group of Companies.
Bullecer also revealed that their company has considered the region as the best agri-related investment destination in the country due to its fertile and vast lands, low cost of doing business and strong support from local leaders despite security issues.
As this developed, Mastura said the Hataman administration, since it started in 2013, has always been concerned with providing a conducive business climate for investors by introducing reforms in its governance.
“ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman believes that investors coming in the region should be provided with the right services and transparency in government transactions,” Mastura emphasized.
“RBOI has been assisting investors in their plans of investing in the region. We provide them advice on business opportunities and information on doing business in ARMM,” the ARMM-RBOI chairman said.
“We inform them about the requirements and processes of RBOI registration and if projects are approved, they get to benefit fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. The agency ensures that investors are being taken cared of during the pre- application stage and even after they register. Having full knowledge of their privileges and responsibilities will help sustain good partnership between investors and the ARMM government,” Mastura added.