Seipi urges gov’t to ease concerns on power

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The Semiconductor and Electronics Industry in the Philippines Inc. has urged the government to resolve uncertainties in the supply of electricity in the country to “dispel jitters among investors and enhance the country’s appeal as an investment destination.”

At the same time, having adequate, reliable power supply will allow the semiconductor and electronics sector to achieve its anticipated “industry turnaround this year,” Seipi said Tuesday in a statement.

According to Seipi, the industry was hampered not only by a global slump in trade and consumer demand but also by adverse local factors, such as the high cost of local electricity, which erodes the sector’s profitability and its ability to increase overseas deliveries.

Several Seipi member-companies have re-evaluated their expansion plans and others opted to expand in other locations outside the Philippines as a result of the continued increase in local electricity rates, the group said.

The local electronics industry currently accounts for half of the country’s exports and provides direct employment to 557,000 Filipinos. But for the past two years, this major source of Philippine exports and provider of employment experienced a flat growth.

“For 2013, Seipi is anticipating a turnaround as new factories start operating and selling overseas their products that include mobile phone chips and microprocessors for computers. The sector’s anticipated growth, however, hinges on the quality and cost of electricity in the country,” Seipi said.

The industry group also noted that the whole business community had been keeping a close watch on developments within the power and infrastructure sector, particularly the status of several big-ticket infrastructure power projects in the country, which are needed to assure reliable but inexpensive supply of electricity in the country.

Seipi said it was aware that some of these projects face legal and policy hurdles. However, this predicament only “dims our hopes that these projects could provide an immediate succor to concerns about the high cost and unreliability of electricity supply in our country.”

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