THE Board of Investments (BoI) forecast a double-digit increase in total local and foreign investment flows this year to reach the P500 billion mark, citing the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.
On Monday, Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said the BoI is bullish about investment flows for the full year, seeing growth of 13.7 percent from P441 billion in 2016.
Rodolfo cited a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) report on Friday that net foreign direct investment (FDI) reached $7.93 billion in 2016, a 40.7-percent increase from $5.64 billion in 2015. That surpassed by 18.4 percent the $6.7 billion mark earlier projected for the year by the BSP.
The amount of FDI registered with Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) accounted for 22.5 percent, or $1.78 billion (P89.3 billion), of the total FDI in 2016, the BoI said.
“The foreign investment level in the second semester of last year was almost double that of the first semester, clearly indicating growing foreign investors’ confidence in the country’s sound economic policies, and attractive business environment,” Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon Lopez said.
“What further makes the Philippines attractive are the plans of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to ramp up infrastructure spending. That is seen increasing economic activities, the country’s demographic dividend and high-skilled, fast-leaner workforce, and the strategic location of the country, which can serve as a gateway to the rest of the Asean market,” Lopez added.
‘P500B for BoI@50’
For this year, the investment board is eyeing to generate its highest investment level to mark its 50th founding year to reflect “P500 billion for BoI@50.”
With the early approval of the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP), the BoI expects robust growth in manufacturing investment projects this year, Rodolfo said.
The manufacturing sector generated P49 billion of investment in 2016, accounting for 11 percent of the total.
About 80 percent of the BoI projects last year were sourced to local businesses, while foreign investors accounted for 20 percent.
Rodolfo said “there are good investment prospects from both new and traditional sources such as China, Japan and Russia.
The Philippines-Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC) recently held a pre-inaugural meeting in Manila, ahead of President Duterte’s visit to Moscow in May.
The state visits of President Duterte to Japan and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to the Philippines are now bearing fruit as Japan’s Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank (OKB) initiated an investment forum in the Philippines.
OKB is the first Japanese regional bank in the Philippines to secure from the BSP a license to operate as representative bank.
OKB is based in the Tokai region where multinational investors to the Philippines, such as Ibiden, Toyota Motor Corp. and Brother Industries Ltd. have their respective headquarters.