Investments continue to come in
Investment pledges registered by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) went up 50.51 percent in the first quarter, driven mainly by Filipino investors opening up new economic zones as well as expansions in the manufacturing industry.
Peza started the year on a positive note, recording P51.34 billion worth of investment pledges from January to March, up from P34.11 billion in the same period a year before.
The boost in first-quarter pledges was attributed to members of the private sector developing more lands into ecozones on top of locators in the IT and manufacturing industry.
Elmer San Pascual, manager of Peza’s promotion and public relations, said that these Filipino ecozone developers were still looking to develop more areas.
“A number of them are into economic zone development. These are more of Filipino investments because the land is Filipino-owned. If I am not mistaken, about a third of the total 50.51-percent growth is economic zone development. The others include IT and manufacturing,” he said.
Pascual said that American firms continued to dominate the make-up of foreign investments especially in the case of the manufacturing firms, although there has been a decline in US IT investments.
In the manufacturing sector, he said a number of semiconductor and electronics firms were expanding.
Last January, Peza Director General Charito Plaza said she was aiming to “triple or quadruple” investment levels this year following a 26-percent decline in pledges in 2016 to P218 billion from P295 billion in 2015.
Moving forward, Plaza expects a string of investment pledges this month, including half a billion dollars from the Middle East and a combined total of more than $4 billion from two American firms interested to set up shop in the Philippines.
Plaza told reporters on Tuesday night that two American firms —OS Petro and PayOdd—would come this month to formalize their investments under Peza.
International oil and gas exploration and production company OS Petro has committed to invest a total of $4 billion, she said. On the other hand, mobile and online payment processing and money transfer service provider PayOdd would have an initial investment of $10 million.
“Both are American companies coming to Peza this month of April to formalize their application to invest and register,” she said.
These pledges followed Peza’s investment mission to Washington, D.C. last month. Plaza said that they would still have to discuss where to locate these firms, although she said that the ideal location for OS Petro was to put it on an island.
Meanwhile, Plaza also said that she would sign next week a memorandum of understanding for $500 million worth of investment pledges from Middle Eastern firms.
Peza held an investment roadshow in Riyadh, Dubai and Qatar in February in preparation for President Duterte’s visit to the region next week.
“During the Middle East visit, we were able to get $500 million in investment pledges that would be signed as an MOU when the President goes to the Middle East,” she said.
Plaza previously said that she was looking to tap the Middle Eastern market, citing its potential to help boost investments here in the Philippines.
In the case of the pledges to be signed next week, Plaza said that the companies were interested in locating in agro-industrial ecozones as well as halal hubs and production ecozones that would be mostly located in Mindanao.
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