FIRB approves perks for P412 billion projects

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Cabinet-level Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has approved 16 projects worth P412 billion since its creation last year following the enactment of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law.

According to the FIRB, it has granted incentives to 16 big-ticket projects with a combined investment capital of P412 billion which is expected to generate over 4,000 direct jobs.

Approved applications are from August 2021 up to  September  last year.

These projects are involved in cement and steel rebars manufacturing activities, mass housing development, shipbuilding, rail operations of a subway, water transport vessel, and hybrid LNG import facility and terminal.

It also covered an industrial zone operator with activities in support of exporters, a motor vehicle manufacturing firm, and telecommunications infrastructure such as data centers and high speed broadband services.

Most projects are located outside Metro Manila such as Pampanga, Zambales, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao del Sur, which are expected to boost rural development in the country.

Of the projects, the biggest is for the establishment of connectivity facilities for high-speed broadband services of Converge ICT Solutions Inc. worth P150.6 billion.

This is followed by the P81.1 billion Makati Subway project, which is set to begin operations by 2026 and is expected to contribute to the development of the capital’s transport system.

There is also a combined P78.2 billion telecommunications infrastructure project of three telco firms in multiple locations.

Finance chief and FIRB chairperson Benjamin Diokno said the mandate of FIRB is crucial in the government’s efforts to strengthen economic recovery initiatives and implement sound fiscal management in the country.

He said that it is important to leverage on the CREATE Act to see the potential of the country as an investment destination, aligned with the priorities of the administration.

Meanwhile, the FIRB Board has adopted a new set of guidelines for the submission of reports of investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

FIRB has reduced the submission of reports to eight from 10 previously in a bid to capture the outcome of the cost and benefits of incentivized projects and the compliance on performance commitments by registered business enterprises.

The overall impact and realization of CREATE target outcomes such as productivity enhancement, job generation, and countryside development are also measured through the reduced number of required submissions.

Pursuant to the CREATE Act, the FIRB is mandated to oversee the grant and administration of incentives of IPAs.

Under the law, IPAs approve the incentives of projects below P1 billion, while the FIRB selects the tax perks for business activities above P1 billion.

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