Freeman Cebu Business

Pinoy investors take lead in Cebu projects – BOI

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Statistics at the Board of Investments Cebu showed that Filipino investors account for 80 to 90 percent of investments registered in the province last year, while the remaining percentage comprised of foreign investors.

BOI Cebu officer-in-charge Philip T. Torres said that this development is something that must be appreciated as it shows that more and more Filipinos are now brave enough to invest their money in bigger ventures within the country.

Real estate investments

With real estate investments taking the lead, the local board recorded 18 projects last year, which amounted roughlyaround P8 billion that generated an estimated 3,400 jobs, Torres told The FREEMAN in an interview.

"There's really a market for housing," he said when asked on what motivates investors to choose property development. "This is a good development because not like before when they were afraid to take the risk. However, these companies also started small."

Out of the 18 projects, 13 of which were real estate or mass housing developments, while the rest included a P700- million tourism project in Bohol and agribusiness related projects, among others.

This year, BOI Cebu is expecting that the real estate sector will still dominate the whole investment pie and may even surpass last year's recorded P8 billion total investment.

Torres said that to date, the board has already registered one agriculture-based project that amounts to P400 million; a pending application of one hospital investor from Manila; a more than a billion worth of hotel project in Mandaue City; and an approved three housing projects that would cost more than a billion.

For now, the board could not yet determine how much the investments would cost as it differs every year.

For now, there are still many pending applications at the BOI as they are still waiting for the documents and endorsement from other government agencies for the completion of the project.

A more focused IPP

On the other hand, the BOI recently released this year's Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) with now only seven preferred business activities, which is fewer compared to last year's 13.

Torres explained that the board aims to have a more specific and focused sectors and identify the industries that need the government's tax and fiscal incentives, adding that others only need policy changes.

He added that employment generation is one of the major criteria for an economic activity to pass BOI's requirement.

Most of the projects the board has supported are high value ones like the energy which covers exploration, development, utilization of energy and power generation.

But energy-related project only employs few workers, Torres said, emphasizing that the manufacturing sector is considered to be the biggest employment generator.

He said that although investments in the manufacturing sector seems low, it creates a lot of jobs and has a multiplier effect.

The BOI has recognized the manufacturing sector as one of the preferred activities in the new IPP.

The 2013 IPP has 13 preferred activities: agriculture or agribusiness and fishery; creative industries or knowledge-based services; shipbuilding; mass housing; iron and steel; energy; infrastructure; research and development; green projects; motor vehicles; strategic projects; hospital or medical services; and disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery projects.

However, the BOI has delisted six of these, creating a new priority list that comprises: the manufacturing, agribusiness and fishery, services, economic and low-cost housing, energy, public infrastructure and logistics and PPP projects.

The information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) is one sector that has been removed from this year's priorities.

However, Torres explained that most of IT-BPM companies are registered with the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) and that these are out of the board's control.

While other sectors could be listed in the exports list because they produce export products, he added.

The public-private partnership of the government, being part of the list, are also given tax holidays, Torres said. 

The BOI also grants tax holidays to those involved in export activities that cover the manufacture of export products, services exports and activities in support of exporters. 
















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