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BOI, PEZA investments plunge 90% in 2 months  

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
BOI, PEZA investments plunge 90% in 2 months   
“January to February period was the surge of Delta and Omicron variants which caused lockdowns again around the world,” PEZA director general Charito Plaza said in a Viber message.
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MANILA, Philippines — Investments approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) declined by 90 percent to P12.82 billion in the first two months of the year from P133.24 billion in the same period last year as  the increase in  COVID cases during the review period affected investor sentiment.

Of the total, 58.9 percent or P7.55 billion was approved by the BOI – a drop of 3.81 percent compared to last year’s  P121.93 billion.

PEZA, on the other hand, accounted for 41.1 percent or P5.27 billion of the approved investments as of end-February, plummeting by 53.4 percent from  P11.31 billion a year ago.

“January to February period was the surge of Delta and Omicron variants which caused lockdowns again around the world,” PEZA director general Charito Plaza said in a Viber message.

In an interview with ANC yesterday, Plaza said the PEZA is now looking at a seven to eight percent growth in its approved investments this year.

The PEZA earlier said it is aiming for a six percent growth in approved investments this year from last year’s P69.30 billion.

Plaza is optimistic of seeing growth in investment approvals this year given the passage into law of the amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and Foreign Investments Act which eased restrictions on foreign investments.

“With these new laws and our very aggressive marketing and promotion, the Philippines could become an investment haven in Asia,” she said.

To encourage more foreign investors to set up shop in the Philippines, she said the PEZA is set to hold a forum in July targeting firms from Asia-Pacific countries.

The total approved investments by the BOI and PEZA from January to February are expected to create 4,847 new jobs.

Accounting for the biggest share, or 39.3 percent, of the BOI and PEZA’s approved investments in the first two months were real estate activities at P5.12 billion.

This was followed by electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply with P5.09 billion (39.7 percent), manufacturing with P1.50 billion (11.7 percent), and administrative and support service activities with P1.04 billion (8.1 percent).

The bulk, or 82.08 percent, of the total BOI and PEZA-approved investments in the first two months  came from Filipino investors amounting to P10.52 billion.

Foreign investors, meanwhile, had a 17.92 percent share amounting to P2.30 billion from January to February.

Singapore was the biggest country source of the BOI and PEZA-approved foreign investments, with P1.32 billion or 57.4 percent share.

Meanwhile, Plaza said PEZA-registered firms including IT-BPM firms may implement the 70-30 hybrid work arrangement, with 70 percent of the workforce reporting on-site and 30 percent working from home.

Earlier, the interagency Fiscal Incentives Review Board issued a resolution allowing PEZA-registered IT-BPM firms to implement work-from-home for up to 90 percent of the workforce without any effect on their incentives only until March 31 and after which, workers must return onsite.

“The present law says 70-30 is the most we can provide as a leeway,” Plaza said.

The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines has been pushing to be allowed to continue a hybrid work arrangement in the long term to allow the industry to remain competitive, as such scheme is also being implemented in other countries.

Plaza said the PEZA will let the new administration address the call for a hybrid work scheme.

“Let the new administration to institutionalize the work-from-home program and especially the ratio, what is going to be the ratio for work-from-home arrangement,” she said.

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