BOI-approved investments up 60% to P243 B in Q1

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
BOI-approved investments up 60% to P243 B in Q1
Accounting for the biggest share in investments in the first quarter is the electricity and power sector with P148 billion.

MANILA, Philippines — Approved investments by the Board of Investments (BOI) recovered from a slowdown in the first two months, rising 60 percent in the first quarter, driven by projects in energy, manufacturing, and information and communications technology (ICT). 

In a statement, the BOI said it approved P243 billion worth of investments in the January to March period, up from the P152.1 billion in the same period last year. 

The latest figures show recovery from the 23 percent year-on-year decline in approved investments in the January to February period, as some projects took time to be evaluated by the BOI.

Accounting for the biggest share in investments in the first quarter is the electricity and power sector with P148 billion. 

Manufacturing was in second place with investments amounting to P43 billion, followed by ICT with P33.2 billion worth of investment projects. 

Among the major investments approved by the BOI for the first quarter this year are St. Raphael Power Generation Corp.’s 2x350 megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant in Batangas amounting to P96 billion, Rizal Wind Energy Corp.’s wind energy resources project in Antipolo and Tanay in Rizal and General Nakar in Quezon worth P47 billion, Metroworks ICT Construction Inc.’s telecommunications infrastructure at P33 billion, Holcim Philippines Inc.’s cement manufacturing project in Barangays Matictic and Bangkal in Norzagaray, Bulacan and Barangay Bayabas in Bulacan at P12.6 billion; Solid Cement Corp.’s cement project in San Jose, Antipolo City at P12.4 billion; and United Pulp and Paper Co. Inc.’s manufacturing project in Calumpit, Bulacan at P8.4 billion.

Domestic firms accounted for the bulk of BOI-approved investments in the first quarter with P212.2 billion, 40 percent higher than the P151.3 billion in the previous year. 

Investments from foreign firms, meanwhile, jumped 3,787 percent to P30.8 billion as of end-March from P792.8 million a year ago.

By country source, Netherlands topped the list of foreign investments with P9.1 billion. 

This was followed by Thailand with P8.4 billion and Japan with P5.3 billion, while the US registered P2.2 billion. 

In terms of location of projects, Region IV A or Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) got bulk or P162 billion of the approved investments during the period, while Region III or Central Luzon was on the second spot with P25.9 billion, and the National Capital Region came in third with P6.1 billion. 

Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez said the approved investments show the positive sentiment of both domestic and foreign investors in the country. 

“We expect the growth to continue for the rest of the year as we aim to approve at least P1 trillion in total investments,” he said. 

Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said the agency has a stringent evaluation process for projects before giving its approval to qualify for incentives. 

“For the power projects for instance, aside from technical and financial assessment and demand gap evaluation, we require positive official endorsement by the Departments of Energy and of the Environment and Natural Resources.  We also require the proponents to commit to emission standards which are very much stricter than local and international requirements. Failure to meet these commitments would mean forfeiture of incentives,” he said.

Last year, investments approved by the BOI hit an all-time high of P907.2 billion.

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