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BoI-approved investments drop 17% in first 10 months

THE Board of Investments (BoI) approved P826 billion in investments in the first 10 months, nearly a fifth lower than the estimated P1 trillion in the same period last year.

“Though this will be slightly lower than the project approvals for 2019, we are still on course for the second-highest level in our agency’s history despite the pandemic,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in an online event on Tuesday.

The BoI breached its P1-trillion full-year investment target by October last year. In 2019, approved investments reached a record P1.14 trillion, which the Trade department attributed to steady business and consumer confidence.

Despite the lockdown, BoI-approved investments doubled in the first half of 2020, led by a San Miguel Corp. subsidiary’s P740-billion airport project in Bulacan. Domestic investments at the time jumped by 166% to P626.7 billion due to the airport project, but foreign investments plummeted by 73% to P18.6 billion.

The government’s investment campaign will focus on the automotive, aerospace, electronics, copper and nickel, and business process outsourcing sectors, Mr. Rodolfo said in his speech.

“The new investments promotion strategy aims to address the value chain gaps and further the growth and competitiveness of our local industries, strengthening the country’s position as an investment destination of choice in the Southeast Asian region,” he said.

The BoI accounts for the bulk of planned projects registered with investment promotion agencies (IPA).

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is aiming to exceed P100 billion in investment pledges this year, after falling by more than a quarter to P72.6 billion in the 10 months through October.

The government on Tuesday launched “Make It Happen in the Philippines,” an international investments promotion campaign that they are rolling out with assistance from the UK government.

The campaign will release digital, social media, events, and print marketing, and has launched a multilingual website.

“With the current health crisis affecting the world economy, we have acted swiftly with a range of incentives and measures to maintain ease of doing business and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 for businesses. A ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ and ‘make-it-work’ mindset, as well as a service-orientated business ethic position the Philippines well for the future,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement.

Mr. Lopez in his presentation said that there are 90 notable leads from potential investors from various countries like the United States, China, Taiwan, and Japan. The potential investments would be valued at $24.1 billion and create 134,855 jobs. The department is targeting 73 more companies.

Meanwhile, the UK Government’s Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said that the Philippines is an important economic partner for the UK.

“The launch of the Philippines’ first sustained multi-sector and multi-market brand is designed to drive FDI inflows.  It underlines the significance of international partnership and cooperation in helping economies to grow and people to thrive.” — Jenina P. Ibañez

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