Total PEZA project approvals exceed 300

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Total projects approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reached over 300 for the year, which are expected to create 70,000 jobs.

In a statement yesterday, the PEZA said it approved 318 new and expansion projects for the year, showing the Philippines continues to attract investments despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Total investment figure for the approved projects was not available as of press time.

Last month, PEZA director general Charito Plaza said she expected total approved investments for the year to exceed P100 billion.

While PEZA initially aimed for a five to 10 percent growth in approved investments this year, the agency had to drop that target due to the pandemic.

As of end-November, PEZA said investments for 300 projects approved by the agency reached P88.341 billion, down by a fifth from P109.194 billion last year.

“While PEZA, like other investment promotion agencies, may have experienced a decline in investment applications this 2020, which can be attributed to the global pandemic and the localized lockdowns, and also the uncertainties brought by the pending CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) legislation, PEZA remained on top of its mandate and think out of the box and doing great balancing acts,” Plaza said.

CREATE seeks to bring down the country’s corporate income tax rate, considered among the highest in Southeast Asia, to 25 percent from the current 30 percent.

The proposed measure, when approved into law, would also bring changes to the incentives system.

“We continue to be positive about opportunities for the Philippines to attract trust and confidence of investors and business groups, whether in terms of new or expansion projects. We at PEZA continue to do our best to attract investors and help our economy bounce back,” Plaza said.

Last year, total investments approved by the PEZA reached P117.54 billion.

PEZA also said its registered firms are almost back to 100 percent operations.

From Dec. 7 to 12, about 2,645 companies or 88 percent of firms registered with the PEZA were operating with 75 percent of the workforce under various schemes.

By sector, those in the information technology – business process outsourcing are operating at 84 percent capacity, while manufacturing is at 91 percent.

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