Investments surge 40% in 7 months
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - The value of projects registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) went up 40 percent in the first seven months of the year as the country’s sound macroeconomic environment continued to lure investors, trade officials said.

The BOI said approved investments from January to July 2017 surged to P294.8 billion from P210.4 billion registered in the previous year.

In terms of the number of projects, the agency said it approved a total of 268 projects, also 40 percent higher than the 192 approved projects last year, while employment generation for the seven-month period rose 57 percent to 58,758 from 37,487 in 2016.

Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said the seven-month figures already account for 59 percent of its P500-billion target for this year.

“We are already at 59 percent of the year-end target of P500 billion and definitely, we are on course to reach, if not, top our investment target for our 50th founding anniversary,” he said.

Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez attributed the growth in investments to the continued confidence of domestic and foreign investors in the country’s sound economic policies, and as well as the attractive business environment.

“The country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals and support for President Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda drove investor confidence to a higher level,” Lopez said. “Presidential visits and the agency’s investment missions abroad have increased the interest of investors, as they gained awareness of the Philippines, convinced of the country’s potential.”

Lopez added the administration’s plan to ramp up infrastructure spending will further boost investors’ confidence as it is seen to increase economic activities.

Committed investments in July 2017 grew 347 percent to P106.8 billion from 32 projects compared to the P23.9 billion in 30 projects pledged during the same month last year.

“Among the biggest projects registered is the P79.2-billion infrastructure project of San Miguel Corp. which involves the construction of a 23-kilometer railway line from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT-3 North Avenue in Quezon City and the 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway to the intermodal terminal in Tala,” the BOI said.

The BOI added that the P5 million online tax filing services project of Taxumo Inc. was also approved in July. Taxumo is a Philippine startup focused on the development of an end-to-end tax preparation software that allows self-employed individuals and professionals to do “do-it-yourself” online tax filing from submission to payment.

Other notable projects for the month include the P6.5-billion Bulacan cement expansion project of Eagle Cement Corp., the P5.1-billion Aruga Hotel by Rockwell Land Corp. in Makati City, and the P1.8-billion Calaca, Batangas liquefied petroleum gas project of South Pacific Inc.

Lopez highlighted that July 2017 projects coincided with the first month of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) implementation.

These include Mindanao-based projects such as the P3.5-billion hydropower project of Alsons in Maasim, Saranggani; the P2.1-billion hydropower project of Repower Energy Development Corp. in Maramag, Bukidnon and another P1.5-billion hydropower project of the same company in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon; the P455-million corrugated boxes for export project of Smartflute Corrugated Packaging Co. in Carmen, Davao del Norte and the P179-million Go Hotel in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.

Moreover, the BOI sees more investments in the manufacturing and inclusive business (IB) sectors given the projected economic growth to spread to the countryside.

Last year, the manufacturing sector generated a total of P49 billion investments, which accounted for 11 percent of total investments.

“As the agency has taken IB under its wing through the new IPP, Secretary Lopez said the BOI is expecting to receive projects that incorporates IB models, sustainably linking small community enterprises into the value chain of big businesses,” the BOI said.

In fact, the agency created an IB-Program Management Office responsible for evaluating investment projects applying for registration with potential IB models. Under the General Policies and Specific Guidelines of the  2017-2019 IPP, IB projects in the agribusiness and tourism sectors may qualify for pioneer status and eligibility for income tax holiday of five years, subject to the provisions of Executive Order 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code.

“With the IPP as the heart of its industry development policies, the BOI remains committed in facilitating and approving investment projects that are impactful, socially-relevant, labor intensive, and promotes innovation while at the same time making sure that these projects are of national interest and makes responsible use of the country’s resources,” Rodolfo said.

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