INVESTMENTS approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) in the first seven months of the year reached P210.37 billion, up by 98 percent from P106.08 billion a year earlier.
“Investments coming in are in sectors that will elevate our competitiveness such as in power and infrastructure,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo.
“Dispersion of investments in the region had also changed. NCR usually receives the highest amount of investments, but now, investments are dispersed as other regions take the lead in attracting more investments,” he added.
The investment pledges were generated from 192 projects with total estimated job generation of 37,487 expected at full operations.
The increase in investments was attributed mainly to the approval of big ticket power and infrastructure projects such as the Limay Premier Power Corp., GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., Light Rail Manila Corp., and two renewable energy projects – Bayog Wind Power Corp. and Cordillera Hydro Electric Power Corp., with generating capacities of 150MW and 60MW, respectively.
Compared with the same period last year, the amount of investments approved in energy projects surged by 325 percent, accounting for 51 percent of the total.
For July, the more notable projects were the P11.64-million El Elyon Power Plant Phils. Inc., with a generating capacity of 160MW in Sarangani Province, as well as the P8.38- million Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, a public-private partnership project of Luzon Clean Water Development Corp. under a concession agreement with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.
Singapore topped the list among the foreign country investors in the first seven months with investments of P9.83 billion or 27 percent of the total approved foreign investments. Netherlands came in second with investments amounting to P7.12 billion, followed by South Korea with P6.42 billion, Japan with P5.69 billion and British Virgin Islands with P2.02 billion.
Region 3 got the highest investments approvals worth P44.32 billion or 21 percent of the total approved investments. The National Capital Region (NCR) came in second with committed investments worth P37.05 billion. Significant investments were also directed to Regions IVA, VII, XII, I, Negros Island, and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said on Wednesday that the agency expects investment pledges to further grow on the back of sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence.
“While confidence in the economy remains with investments continuing to pour in, the government is pursuing a number of strategic investment policy and promotion initiatives in a bid to further strengthen its efforts in attracting a massive flow of domestic and foreign investments in the country particularly those that would bring in new technology,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the government will pursue a synchronization of the investment promotion efforts of all the investments promotion agencies to support Philippine branding.
“We will be more focused on promoting strategic investments to position the country as a world class investments destination,” he said.
He also said that the agency is looking at modernizing the current investment incentives regime by proposing amendments to the 1987 Omnibus Investments Code.
“In granting incentives, we will focus on creating decent jobs in the Philippines. As such, bias against foreign investors and bias against those serving the domestic market will be removed. Further, if the economic provisions of the Constitution will be amended, greater foreign equity in sectors that are crucial to improving the competitiveness of industries such as infrastructure and utilities like telecommunications, roads, ports, and airports, may be allowed,” Lopez said.
The Trade Secretary said the agency is also looking at linking the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and other ecozone locators with the domestic MSMEs as suppliers of raw materials, intermediate parts and components.