BoI pledges more than double as of September

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THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) more than doubled its approved investments to P764.7 billion in the nine months to September from a year ago, the agency said in a press release on Thursday.

“The sustained high growth of investments is proof of the business sector’s strong confidence in both the Philippines’ economic fundamentals, as further shown by the acceleration of the third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.2% and the reform agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” the agency quoted its chairman, Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez, as saying.

Foreign investments made up 31.4% of total investments committed through the BoI, up from eight percent a year earlier. Foreign investments surged sevenfold to P239.9 billion from P33.6 billion a year earlier, while domestic investments increased 54.7% to P524.9 billion from P339.3 billion.

Among foreign investors, Singapore remained the top source with P170 billion. South Korea came second with P34.1 billion, followed by Thailand (P8.6 billion), Japan (P6 billion) and the United States (P2.4 billion).

Mr. Lopez said that the growth in foreign investment share is expected to continue as the Philippines steps up economic cooperation with non-traditional partners.

Investments outside Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region (NCR), accounted for 98.2% of the total with P750.9 billion, with CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) topping regions with P354 billion. Central Luzon was the runner up at P42.4 billion, followed by NCR (P13.8 billion), Central Visayas (P10.1 billion) and Cagayan Valley (P10.05 billion).

The information and communications technology (ICT) and power sectors were the biggest recipients of investment pledges, posting a combined P652.9 billion that accounted for 85% of the total value.

“This massive infrastructure buildup for more power and connectivity across the archipelago is critical towards addressing binding constraints to the Philippines’ competitiveness,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in the same statement.

Investments in manufacturing grew 190% to P63.5 billion from P21.9 billion last year.

The tourism sector recorded P9.5 billion worth of hotel and accommodation projects, nearly seven times more than the P1.2 billion pledged last year.

“With the innovative advocacy campaigns of the Department of Tourism, the Philippines experience an overwhelming surge of domestic tourists which reached over 110 million in 2018 and already exceeded the 89.2 million target by 2022 as stated in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP),” Mr. Rodolfo said.

“So we look forward to the coming years for a tourism boom with the recent announcement of a well-known brand (Marriot) to triple its portfolio by building 21 more hotels and the aggressive expansion of more affordable hotels (like RedDoorz) in the country,” he added.

Notable projects approved by BoI included Orion Pacific Energy Inc.’s P130-billion 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Quezon City, Petron Corp.’s P10.9-billion solid fuel-fired power plant in Bataan, 6 Barracuda Energy Corp.’s P7.6-billion wind power project in Northern Samar, Cebu Air, Inc.’s P1.7-billion operational lease of Airbus A320 NEO plane, Cavite Gateway Terminal Inc.’s P1.35-billion seaport terminal, and Starlite Gallant Ferries, Inc.’s P1.1-billion domestic shipping project. — J. P. Ibañez