Congress eases limits to PH firms’ foreign ownership

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Congress has taken a step at easing foreign ownership restrictions by allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of adjustment, lending and financing companies as well as investment houses.

The move came after the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the Foreign Investment Liberalization Act, which abolishes all statutory laws and implementing rules and regulations imposing nationality requirements in the aforementioned industries.

The bill also removes citizenship requirement and share of capital in Section 332 pertaining to the Adjusters section of Republic Act 10607 or The Insurance Code, while similar amendments will also be applied to Section 5 of RA 8366 or the Investment Houses Law and Section 6 of RA 9474 or the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007.

In addition, the Foreign Investment Liberalization Act allows foreigners to own 100 percent of financing companies and authorizes the Securities and Exchange Commission to adjust minimum paid-up levels warranted by its oversight requirements.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will then have all the regulatory powers over the four industries following existing laws and regulations.

Authors of the measure include Representatives Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental, Xavier Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Randolph Ting of Cagayan, Isagani Amatong of Zamboanga del Norte, Eric Olivarez of Parañaque, Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, JC Rahman Nava of Guimaras, Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City and Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte.

The 1987 Constitution restricts foreign ownership of public utilities and land at 40 percent.

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