Duterte visit to Middle East to generate $650-M investments
President Duterte’s visit to the Middle East this week is expected to generate more than $650 million worth of investment commitments, which would be registered as part of the second-quarter pledges under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).
Peza Director General Charito B. Plaza noted that investors from Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had given their investment commitments following the agency’s roadshow in February.
These pledges, which cover a wide range of industries from information technology to agriculture, would be firmed up with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), she said. The combined amount was much bigger than the $500 million she previously announced.
“Peza is in the front line of the MOU signing of the investment pledges that it was able to get from the Middle East. After the MOU signing, they will come over to register their companies. It will fall under the second quarter [investment pledges],” she said.
President Duterte will be in the Middle East starting today until April 16 and will visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. During his visit, the President will witness the signing of the MOUs between Peza and the foreign investors.
The investment promotion agency’s foray in the Middle East comes as Plaza targets to “triple or quadruple” investment pledges this year following a 26-percent decline in commitments in 2016 to P218 billion from P295 billion in 2015.
The pledges from Middle Eastern companies are expected to create a total of 21,170 jobs once these projects start operations here in the Philippines. Plaza deferred from naming the specific companies before the actual signing of the MOU this week.
When broken down, it would show that the bulk of the pledges will come from Saudi Arabia, accounting for a combined $465.34 million. These are commitments for a total of seven projects, which, once in operation, will generate 15,770 jobs.
Qatar, on the other hand, will commit $175 million involving 10 projects that will bring new jobs to 4,400 people. Only one project is from UAE, promising $10 million worth of pledges that will create a thousand jobs.