Investments in April up 255%
BoI streamlines registrationBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Investments registered with the Board of Investments (BoI) in April surged by 255 percent to P133.18 billion from only P37.56 billion a year ago.
The jump in investment commitments in April was driven largely by the two power projects approved by the BoI during the month. These were the P21.78-billion project of South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.—a company jointly owned by the Ayala group, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp.—and the P49.45-billion expansion of the 600-megawatt Masinloc coal facility of Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd., the local arm of US power giant AES Corp.
The April registration brought to P151.55 billion the value of investment commitments approved by the BoI in the first four months of the year. This was, however, only 2 percent higher than the P147.95 billion posted a year ago.
Data from the BoI showed that the investment pledges in the first four months of the year covered 158 projects, which are expected to generate 22,114 new jobs once operational.
The biggest investment commitments came from the electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning sector with a total of P84.25 billion; real estate, P20.63 billion; and mining and quarrying, P14.59 billion.
“We see rising investor interest in strategic sectors such as agribusiness, manufacturing and tourism. Domestic investors’ confidence in the economy continues to rise, and the same goes for foreign investors for the past four months,” said Trade Undersecretary and BoI managing head Adrian S. Cristobal.
Meanwhile, approved projects from foreign investors grew by 26 percent to P10.191 billion in the first four months of the year from P8.084 billion a year ago.
Notable growth in investments came from within Asean, with Thailand emerging as the biggest foreign investor for January to April, accounting for P3.62 billion of the investments approved. This was followed by Japan as the fastest-growing investor-country with P1.02 billion worth of investment pledges.
Meanwhile, Cristobal disclosed that BoI is pilot-testing a more business-friendly investment application process on agribusiness, mass housing, and tourism projects.
“We have received feedback that document requirements were too stringent and time-consuming for investors. We are anticipating that the BoI’s streamlined process will encourage more investors to set up shop or expand in the country,” Cristobal said.
Fifty-one of the 86 approved projects for April alone, amounting to P21.81 billion worth of investments, reportedly used the new form.
Results of the pilot testing will determine if the streamlined process can be applied to the rest of the sectors under the Investments Priorities Plan, the county’s blueprint for investment promotions.
BoI data showed that as of May 9 this year, there are about 83 more project applications in the pipeline, amounting to some P114 billion.
The streamlined process has reduced the number of items in the investment application form as well as the number of pages of the project evaluation report. Processing time or turnaround time is expected to be trimmed down to five days from 20 days.
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