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BOI investment pledges up 126%

Big-ticket infrastructure projects in telecommunications have driven the pledges under the Board of Investments (BOI) to P609 billion as of August, inching closer to its a trillion-peso year-end target.

The BOI said in a statement on Wednesday that its investment pledges in the first eight months of the year went up 126 percent from the P269.3 billion registered in the same period last year.

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Moreover, BOI Chair and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez noted how the pledges for the month of August alone ended close to the P312 billion the BOI had in total registrations from January to July.

“This shows big-ticket projects have begun to roll in and proves that the Philippine economy remains resilient in attracting investors despite the global slowdown,” he said.

The big-ticket projects in August included the P141-billion venture of ISOC Asia Telecom Towers Inc. to build 25,000 cellular towers.

There was also the P134.5-billion project of Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd. Inc., the local subsidiary of China’s HyalRoute Group, to develop fiber optic cables covering around 60,000 kilometers.

Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc., which stands to benefit from the government’s safeguard tax against imported cement, registered a P16.7-billion cement facility in Rizal.

The BOI targets to grow its investment pledges registration to P1 trillion at the end of the year, which would be a record high for the agency if reached.

In 2018, the investment promotion agency said it registered P915 billion worth of investment commitments, the highest so far in the agency’s history.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said they were still on track to meet the year-end target as he noted that there were still some pending big-ticket projects that needed to be thoroughly evaluated.

“With four months remaining, we have to ensure that those which get the nod are deserving of the tax incentives and translate to more job opportunities for our countrymen,” Rodolfo said.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Finance noted that the doubling of pledges of foreign investment into the country during the first half of 2019 disproved fears that overseas businessmen would be put off by the Duterte administration’s proposal to phase out tax perks of firms that no longer deserved them.

In a statement, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on long-term equity commitments showed that dire predictions of investment flight following the expected passage of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (Citira) were unfounded.

“It goes to show that the noisy naysayers against the long-due efforts to reform the country’s convoluted corporate income tax system are mistaken,” he said, citing the PSA’s report of a 112-percent increase in investment pledges in the first semester of the year.

“Despite the persistent fear-mongering activities of certain groups, the international investment community continues to signal its confidence in the policies of the Duterte administration and in the strength of the Philippine economy and its workforce, as illustrated by the surge in pledges in the year’s first semester,” the finance official said.

The PSA reported last week that foreign investment pledges in the second quarter were equivalent to P49.5 billion, up 60.2 percent from P30.9 billion a year ago. This added to the P46 billion during the first quarter, bringing total pledges during the first half of the year to more than double the amount last year.

The Citira bill was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives on Monday night. —WITH A REPORT FROM DAXIM L. LUCAS

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TAGS: Board of Investments (BOI), infrastructure projects, Telecommunications
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