THE government wants to extend the lease contract period under the law to 99 years from 75 for foreign investors in special economic zones by amending the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (FIA).
“No one has complained about 75, but we want it because we’re competing with other economic zones because that’s the trend today in special economic zones (SEZs),” Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) General Manager Charito Plaza said over the weekend.
FIA is the basic charter that governs foreign investment in the Philippines. It is considered a landmark legislation for liberalizing the entry of foreign investment into the country.
Under the law, foreign investors may invest up 100-percent equity in companies engaged in almost all types of business activities, but subject to certain restrictions prescribed under the Foreign Investments Negative List (FINL).
The FINL is a shortlist of investment areas or activities which may be opened to foreign investors and those reserved for Filipinos.
“We want to be competitive, because in Dubai and Vietnam they have 99 years. Why can’t we do it here? But we have to study how to address this gap,” Plaza said.
Earlier, the PEZA has briefed Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the possibility of investing in economic zones in the Philippines.
Interested investors from the Middle East will visit the country to explore their options.
“What we’re offering our foreign investors is a lease for 75 years. That is provided in the law,” she said, citing Republic Act 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, as amended by Republic Act 8748.