PH business prospects remain bright, BOI investments up 40 percent in Jan-July 2017

Philippine investment prospects remain bright as projects registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) reached Php294.8 billion from January to July 2017, up by 40 percent from PhP210.4 billion during the same period last year. 

Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said the investment registration figure is a clear indication of the continued confidence of domestic and foreign investors in the country’s sound economic policies, and attractive business environment. 

“The country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals and support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda drove investor confidence to a higher level,” he said.   “Presidential visits and the agency’s investment missions abroad have increased the interest of investors, as they gained awareness of the Philippines, convinced of the country’s potential,” he added. 

“What further makes the Philippines attractive are plans of the administration to ramp-up infrastructure spending that is seen to increase economic activities, the country’s demographic dividend, highly-skilled workforce, and the strategic location of the country, which can serve as a gateway to the rest of the ASEAN market,” the Secretary said.

Employment generation for the seven-month period reached 58,758, an increase of 57 percent from 37,487 from the same period in 2016. Number of projects approved also went up by 40 percent to 268, from 192 in 2016. 

Secretary Lopez highlighted the July 2017 projects as these coincided with the first month of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) implementation. These include Mindanao-based projects namely the Php3.5 billion hydropower project of Alson’s in Maasim, Saranggani, the Php2.1 billion hydropower project of Repower Energy Development Corporation in Maramag, Bukidnon and another Php1.5 billion hydropower project of the same company in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, the Php455 million corrugated boxes for export project of Smartflute Corrugated Packaging Company, in Carmen, Davao del Norte, and the Php179 million Go Hotel in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.

Committed investments in July 2017 reached Php106.8 billion from 32 projects, a 347 percent surge from Php23.9 billion in 30 projects in the same month last year. Among the biggest projects registered is the Php79.2 billion infrastructure project of San Miguel Corporation which involves the construction of a 23-kilometer railway line from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT-3 North Avenue in Quezon City and the 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway to the intermodal terminal in Tala.

A notable project also approved in July was the Php5 million online tax filing services project of Taxumo Inc., a Philippine startup focused on the development of an end-to-end tax preparation software that allows self-employed individuals and professionals to do “do-it-yourself” online tax filing from submission to payment.  Taxumo is one of the many micro and small enterprise (MSE) project that the BOI has approved since the processing and approval of MSE projects was delegated to the BOI Management Committee. 

Other notable projects for the month include the Php6.5 billion cement Bulacan expansion project of Eagle Cement Corporation, the Php5.1 billion Aruga Hotel by Rockwell Land Corporation in Makati City, and the Php1.8 billion Calaca, Batangas Liquefied Petroleum Gas project of South Pacific Inc.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo meanwhile said, “We are already at 59 percent of the year-end target of Php500 billion and definitely, we are on course to reach, if not, top our investment target for our 50th Founding Anniversary.”

With President Duterte’s swift and early approval of the 2017 IPP, the benefits of the country’s fast economic growth is seen to spread to the countryside with emphasis on a broader segment of the manufacturing sector, innovation-driven, inclusive business (IB), and job-generating businesses, Undersecretary Rodolfo said BOI sees a robust growth of manufacturing investment projects this year. The manufacturing sector generated a total of PhP49 billion investments in 2016 or 11 percent of total investments last year.  

As the agency has taken IB under its wing through the new IPP, Secretary Lopez said the BOI is expecting to receive projects that incorporates IB models, sustainably linking small community enterprises into the value chain of big businesses.  The agency has in fact, created an IB-Program Management Office responsible for evaluating investment projects applying for registration with potential IB models. Under the General Policies and Specific Guidelines of the  2017-2019 IPP, IB Projects in the agribusiness and tourism sectors may qualify for pioneer status and eligibility for income tax holiday of five years, subject to the provisions of Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code.

“With the IPP as the heart of its industry development policies, the BOI remains committed in facilitating and approving investment projects that are impactful, socially-relevant, labor intensive, and promotes innovation while at the same time making sure that these projects are of national interest and makes responsible use of the country’s resources,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said.  (END)