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Business

Ecozone investments up 8.5% in 1st half

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) ended the first semester with an 8.5 percent increase in registered investments even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement yesterday, the PEZA said it approved P32.06 billion worth of investments in the first six months, up from P29.54 billion in the same period last year.

The approved investments are for 119 expansion and new projects, which went up five percent compared to the 113 projects in the same period last year.

The PEZA said the majority of the investments are from foreign sources such as Japan, South Korea, India, Hong Kong and China.

There were also approved investments from other countries such as Germany, Austria, France, Canada and the US.

In terms of location of the projects, PEZA said bulk were in Region 4 with P10.01 billion, followed by Regions 7, 11 and the National Capital Region.

For the month of June alone, the PEZA approved 62 new projects.

Of these projects, 22 are in the information technology sector, 20 are for export manufacturing activities, 13 for facilities, and seven are ecozone development projects.

“These projects are essential, especially as we continue to go back to our vibrant and booming economy,” PEZA director general Charito Plaza said.

Exports from the country’s ecozones went up 23.35 percent year-on-year to $24.78 billion in the January to May period.

Total employment generated also rose 8.6 percent to 1.605 million as of end-May.

Despite the pandemic, Plaza said the PEZA continues to actively promote investment opportunities in the country.

“PEZA remains true to its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, generating exports, and attaining total economic development in our country as we maintain and implement strict COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in our ecozones. We will continue to transform challenges into opportunities so we can ceaselessly serve our Filipino people, our partners, locators, and investors,” she said.

As the country continues the vaccine rollout to achieve herd immunity and reopen the economy, she said the PEZA is upbeat of attracting investments in ecozones in the remaining months of the year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic cannot stop us from performing at our best and ensuring that we continuously attract more investments, generate exports, and produce jobs for millions of Filipinos even post-pandemic,” she said.

Earlier, PEZA deputy director general Tereso Panga said the PEZA is aiming for a seven percent growth in ecozone investments this year from last year’s P95.03 billion.

PEZA’s target is anchored on expectations there would be more investments following the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act which introduced changes to the incentives system to make the country more attractive to investors.

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