BOI approvals double to P765 Billion in 9 months
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - November 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Projects approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) more than doubled in the nine months to September, with the bulk accounted for by the information and communications technology (ICT) and power sectors.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo told reporters yesterday that BOI-approved investments reached P764.7 billion as of end-September, well above the P372.9 billion approvals in the same period the previous year.

For the month of September alone, BOI approved P155.7 billion worth of projects, a 50.3 percent jump from P103.6 billion in the same month last year.

Orion Pacific Prime Energy Inc.’s 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Quezon province had the biggest investment at P130.32 billion in September.

Other notable investment projects which were cleared by the BOI include Petron Corp.’s P10.9 billion solid fuel-fired power plant in Bataan, 6 Barracuda Energy Corp.’s P7.6 billion wind power project in Northern Samar,  Cebu Air Inc.’s P1.7 billion operational lease of Airbus A320 Neo plane, Cavite Gateway Terminal Inc.’s P1.35 billion seaport terminal and Starlite Gallant Ferries Inc’s P1.1 billion domestic shipping project with home wharf in Batangas City.

For the nine-month period, Rodolfo said the ICT and power sectors cornered the biggest share in approved investments.

“Investments from the ICT and power sectors accounted for 85 percent of the total figure or P652.9 billion. The massive infrastructure buildup for more power and connectivity across the archipelago is critical towards addressing binding constraints to the Philippines’ competitiveness,” he said.

He said investments for the manufacturing sector also posted massive growth of 190 percent to P63.5 billion as of end-September from just P21.9 billion a year ago.

Investments in tourism such as hotel and other accommodation projects likewise increased to P9.5 billion in the nine-month period from last year’s P1.2 billion.

Of the total approved investments as of end-September, domestic firms brought in bulk or P524.9 billion, 54.7 percent higher than the previous year’s P339.3 billion.

Investments from foreign sources reached P239.9 billion in the January to September period, a 613 percent growth from P33.6 billion a year ago.

Singapore continued to top foreign investors through P170 billion worth of investments as of end-September.

This was followed by South Korea with P34.1 billion, Netherlands with P9.2 billion, Thailand with P8.6 billion and Japan with P6 billion.

On the location of investment projects, Region IV-A or CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) remained the most preferred area as it got P354 billion worth of investments as of end-September.

Region III or Central Luzon came in second with P42.4. billion, while the National Capital Region placed third with P13.8 billion.

Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez said the latest investment approvals show the country remains attractive to investors.

“The sustained high growth of investments is a proof the business sector’s strong confidence in both the Philippines’ economic fundamentals as further shown by the acceleration of the third quarter gross domestic product growth to 6.2 percent and the reform agenda of President Duterte,” he said.

BOI expects total approved investments this year to hit a record high P1 trillion.

Last year, BOI-approved investments reached an all-time high of P907.2 billion, 47 percent higher than the previous record of P617 billion in 2017.

CEFERINO RODOLF
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