THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is positive investments will triple or even quadruple this year as new economic zones open throughout the country after it recorded a 20 percent drop in approved investments in 2016 due to election-related uncertainties.
PEZA said it approved over P218-billion worth of investments in 2016, down from the P295 billion investments it approved in 2015.
“During the election period, there was a halt because some investors were monitoring who will be the next leader…During that period, we were down by 20 percent compared to 2015,” PEZA Director General Charito Plaza told a press conference on Monday.
She emphasized that such investment lulls were typical during election periods.
“This 2017, with the new economic zones all over the country, we hope to triple or quadruple investments and make aggressive invitations to investors,” she said.
Other countries are looking at the Philippines as an investment haven because of the government’s moves to cut bureaucratic red tape and its emphasis on eradicating corruption, the PEZA chief said.
“Many countries are looking at the Philippines as a new investment haven because we are now the top-growing economy in Asia because of our strategic location, and they are happy with President Rodrigo Duterte’s creating the Philippines as a safe, peaceful, [and]friendlier business environment,” Plaza said.
In 2016, direct employment created by PEZA-accredited economic zones reached 1.3 million while total exports from these zones rose 6.2 percent to $38.918 billion from $36.633 billion in 2015.