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Neda sees upward growth in Central Visayas

The entire region of Central Visayas will expect a more dynamic growth starting this year, as the recognition of the region’s potential to host some businesses and investments from the international community has strengthened.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported that aside from the bright prospects in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and tourism sectors, the mining industry is likewise emerging as another economic driver of the region.

The international market is now looking at mining investment potentials within the region, stimulated by the re-opening of Atlas Mining, which is expected to start copper production by July this year.

NEDA-7 regional director Marlene Ca P. Rodriguez reported that because of this development, fueled by the acceleration of growth in tourism and ICT industries, including potential downpour of mining investments in Central Visayas, different industries will be benefited.

She mentioned that industries like real estate, construction, retail trade and transportation are the sectors that could immediately feel the impact of the positive growth.

Because of this, she said more banks have now planning to open more branches in the region.

“Expansion of banking industry to continue with new banks expected to operate in the region and existing ones expanding their operations, as demand for banking facility in strategic location is expected to rise starting this year.

The good outlook is back-up by the outstanding over-all growth of the region last year. In fact, despite the difficulties faced by export sector, Central Visayas exports grew by 32.1 percent in 2007.

She said the region is bullish about the investment region, mentioning the investment drivers, such as IT and tourism facilities and services, real estate and retail trade.

In Cebu, she said the two employment generators are the ICT and tourism sectors. While other provinces in the region started to attract tourists and ICT investments, this development is also seen to improve employment rates in neighboring islands, like Bohol, Negros and Siquijor.

Aside from call center related services, Rodriguez said one of the backbones that attract international big names in ICT investment is the good reputation of Cebu’s software development talents here.

In Cebu Asia Town IT Park alone, locators have increased to 30 percent, generating employment to over 11,000.

She added that because of this upbeat economic scenario, the retail industry in Cebu has evolved to offer 24/7 operations, especially for shops, food joints, and spa located near the cyber parks, or areas which have good number of BPO operations.

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