The Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s leading investment promotion agency (IPA), has approved a total of PHP272.7 billion from January to mid-July 2017. BOI Managing Head and Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told reporters that investment pledges up to mid-July this year was higher by 30 percent from PHP210.4 billion approvals in January to July 2016.
The increase in investments in mid-July was boosted by the registration of the PHP79-billion MRT-7 project of San Miguel Corp..
The MRT-7 project involves the construction of 23-kilometer elevated railway with 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan connecting to MRT-3 North Avenue Station in Quezon City and a 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue Interchange of North Luzon Expressway to intermodal terminal in Tala, Caloocan City.
But it was noted that investment approvals in BOI during the first semester of 2017 only inched up by 1.0 percent to PHP188 billion from PHP186 billion in the same period last year.
Rodolfo said most of investors were waiting for the release of the 2017 Investment Promotion Plan (IPP) guidelines before registering their projects with the BOI; hence, the almost flat growth in approvals in the first half of the year.
The 2017 IPP was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 28, 2017. It took effect on March 18, 2017, but the BOI only released the guidelines recently.
With the theme of “Scaling Up and Dispersing Opportunities”, the 2017 IPP supports socioeconomic agenda of the President Duterte and in line with the AmBisyon Natin 2040.
Rodolfo mentioned four highlights of the new IPP list — the inclusion of inclusive business, commercialization of research and development and inventions from state universities and colleges as well as the Department of Science and Technology, implementing certain criteria for manufacturing activities, and trainings, particularly for information technology and business process management and maritime sectors.
Meanwhile, project registrations with the BOI in January to mid-July 2017 increased 28 percent to 245 projects from 192 projects in the first seven months of 2016.
Job generation was also higher by 50 percent from 37,487 jobs in H1 2016 to 56,056 in January to mid-July this year.
“We still have more projects in the pipeline worth around Php18 billion and is expected to be approved before July ends. We are looking at around PHP290 billion by the end of the month. The figure represents nearly 60 percent of our goal to reach PHP500 billion this year in line with our 50th founding anniversary, so we are on pace to achieve that mark,” Rodolfo said.
He added that potential projects that are seen to be registered with the BOI are in the sectors of cement manufacturing, agro-processing, renewable energy, liquefied petroleum gas terminal, housing, hotels and resorts, and infrastructure.