Ecozone investments decline 19% in 2020

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Investments for projects approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) went down by nearly a fifth last year amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, PEZA said it approved P95.03 billion worth of projects last year, 19 percent lower than the P117.5 billion in 2019.

Also, only 326 projects were registered with PEZA last year, a 40 percent reduction from the 540 projects in 2019.

Local investments reached P35.3 billion last year, down 48 percent from P68.29 billion in 2019, which PEZA attributed to the impact of the lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the virus.

Investments from foreign sources meanwhile, rose 21 percent to P59.73 billion from 2019’s P49.26 billion.

PEZA said majority of the investments came from the US, UK, Belgium, Ireland and Spain and Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

By sector, P34.44 billion of the approved investments are for manufacturing, up 13 percent from P30.35 billon in 2019.

Investments for the information technology – business process outsourcing sector, meanwhile, reached P17.41 billion, slightly lower than the P17.58 billion in 2019.

In terms of the location of the approved investments, PEZA said the top performing are Cordillera Administrative Region, as well as Regions 1, 3, 5, 6, 11 and 12.

Despite challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, PEZA director general Charito Plaza said the agency would continue to promote the Philippines to investors.

“As we continue to cope with the new normal, we remain committed and steadfast to attract investments, generate exports, and create employment for our country and the Filipino people,” she said.

“We hope that we will be able to attract more foreign direct investments in the country, keep the PEZA brand of service renowned worldwide, and help the Philippine economy bounce back and even become a self-reliant, self-sustaining and resource-generating investment haven in Asia,” she said.

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