Foreign investment pledges jump 61% to P43 billion in Q3
Investment pledges by foreign firms recovered in the third quarter, jumping 61.1 percent year-on-year to P43 billion, the government reported Thursday.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters that the National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by the President is expected to take up the proposed 11th regular foreign investment negative list (FINL) early next year to increase the number of sectors to be further opened up to foreign investors to ramp up foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.
“The revised list covers easing foreign investment restrictions on contracts for construction and repair of projects, practice of professions, telcos, teaching at higher education levels, retail trade enterprises, and domestic market enterprises,” said Pernia, who heads the state planning agency Neda.
The Economic Development Cluster recently approved Neda’s recommendations on the 11th FINL, Pernia noted.
For the telco sector, Pernia said China Telecom is expected to enter the domestic market through a joint venture with a local company, but as soon as telecommunications is removed from the list of activities considered “public utilities” under a bill pending in the Senate, foreign firms can eventually own up to 100 percent of domestic telco ventures.
In a report, the Philippine Statistics Authority said foreign investments approved by seven investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from July to September increased from P26.7 billion in the same three-month period last year.
The PSA data consisted of approvals made by the following IPAs: Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, Board of Investments, BOI-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Clark Development Corp., Philippine Economic Zone Authority and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
IPAs give away fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to investors.
However, the approved foreign investments at the end of the first nine months declined 9.9 percent to P84.1 billion from P93.3 billion as of end-September last year.
To recall, investment commitments from foreign companies fell year-on-year during the first four quarters of the Duterte administration.
From July to September, the top three sources of foreign investment pledges were Japan (P21.4 billion), Taiwan (P8.9 billion) and Australia (P2.8 billion).
More than half of the total or P25.1-billion worth of approved foreign investments in the third quarter would be infused into the manufacturing sector.
Investment commitments by foreigners for real estate activities reached P10.1 billion, on top of P2.9 billion for administrative and support service activities.
When foreign pledges were combined with those made by Filipino investors, total investments approved by the seven IPAs in the third quarter more than doubled to P274.4 billion from P133.8 billion a year ago.
Filipino-led projects amounted to P231.3 billion, equivalent to 84.3 percent of all IPA-approved investments during the July to September period.
The projects approved by the IPAs in the third quarter would generate 37,891 jobs, of which nearly three-fourths are expected to come from foreign-led investments.
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