INVESTMENT pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) during the first quarter of the year rose 17 percent to P54.62 billion from P46.77 billion in the same period last year, led by strong investor interest in manufacturing.
The BOI said there were 59 projects approved in the first quarter from 54 projects a year ago.
When fully operational, the 59 projects are expected to generate 18,174 jobs, up 65 percent from last year’s 11,636 jobs, said Adrian Cristobal Jr., managing head of the BOI and concurrent Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) undersecretary.
Cristobal attributed the higher figures in the first quarter to the approval of big-ticket projects listed under the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector (e.g., power generating plants, renewable energy projects).
The sector generated P13.76 billion in approved investments, up 30 percent from last year’s comparable figure of P10.55 billion, Cristobal said.
But it was the manufacturing sector that posted the biggest growth as investments
skyrocketed by a tremendous 517 percent from P2.1 billion to P12.9 billion.
The surge in manufacturing projects reflects the results of the initiatives of the
Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP), a government priority program that was initiated to push for a 30 percent increase in Gross Value Added (GVA) and a 15 percent increase in employment by 2025.
“For the past two years, we have been pushing for the Manufacturing Resurgence Program,” he said, adding that they also focused on investments toward this particular sector.
The MIR objectives are being achieved with the help of the policies and strategies created under the Manufacturing Industry Roadmap (MIR).
The industry roadmaps, established by DTI through the BOI, opens the door for the private sector to collaborate with the government, the academe and civil society in charting the direction, objectives and strategies that will make their respective industries become more competitive and eventually realize sustainable growth.
Other sectors with substantial contributions include the transportation and storage sector, where approved investments grew by 134 percent from P4.47 billion to P10.48 billion, and the information and communication sector, where investments showed a remarkable increase of 841 percent from P496.7 million to P4.67 billion.
Two sectors increased from zero in 2014: agriculture, forestry, and fishing got P198 million this year while the education sector now has P1.4 billion worth of projects.
On the other hand, investment pledges in real estate activities declined by 49 percent from P17.96 billion to P9.09 billion.
Cristobal added that of the total investment approvals, domestic investments accounted for 96 percent of the total or P52.25 billion, compared to P42.08 billion last year. The remaining 4 percent, or P2.38 billion, was generated from foreign sources, down nearly half or 49.2 percent from P4.69 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
“BOI for the past decade has really catered more to domestic projects and investors. It shows that there is really a strong domestic confidence among Filipino companies that already here in the investment climate,” Cristobal said.
“The bulk of the foreign investments coming in are going to the export processing zones. They are really for exports,” he added.
Singapore topped the list of foreign country sources with 59 percent of the total foreign investments or P1.41 billion.
Other top sources of investments were the British Virgin Islands which contributed P877.75 million, the People’s Republic of China (P31.19 million), Cooks Island (P8.87 million), Denmark (P8.87 million), Norway (P8.83 million),Bermuda P8.82 million, Japan (P8.77 million), Germany (P7.77 million), United Kingdom (P4.0 million) and India ( P3.37 million).
Region 4 received the biggest share of investments with P13.47 billion worth of projects while the National Capital Region (NCR) posted P8.62 billion, followed by Regions 6 (P7.49 billion), Region 7 (P6.86 billion) and Region 10 (P5.22 billion).