More investments in the infrastructure sector are expected this year. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

THE Board of Investments (BoI) is targeting P1.25 trillion in investment approvals for 2021, 22.5% higher than last year’s tally, as it expects to attract more investments in infrastructure.

Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez said that the investment promotion agency is looking to a V-shaped economic recovery this year, which led to its adoption of the original 2020 target.

Approved investment pledges for 2020 reached P1.02 trillion, reaching the BoI’s revised P1- trillion goal. However, this was lower than the P1.25-trillion target set before the pandemic.

Endorsements of two power projects and a water supply and distribution project at the end of 2020 helped the agency reach its goal. BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo earlier cast doubt on hitting the P1-trillion mark while the agency awaited government endorsements.

“Moving forward to 2021, we expect that investments in these types of projects will intensify particularly in infrastructure (road, ports and telecoms), water and power,” Mr. Lopez said in a statement on Tuesday.

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

The 311 projects last year could create 55,124 jobs, BoI said. Most of the projects are domestic investments contributing 95.3% to the total.

While electricity projects contributed P199.2 billion to last year’s total, transportation and storage added P161.6 billion. Real estate projects contributed P32.5 billion, while the projects in the water supply and sewerage sector invested P27 billion.

The bulk of the investments went to Central Luzon, mostly due to the Bulacan international airport project that contributed to more than half of the year’s total. The Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), National Capital Region, and Northern Mindanao followed.

“While there is a constant flow of investment leads and applications, the BoI as a prudent administrator of incentives puts primacy in a rigorous assessment of these projects,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

“Government agencies, however, have been putting extraordinary efforts to have efficient coordination in removing obstacles to business endeavors, particularly the strategic and critical projects.”

BoI reached a record high of P1.14 trillion in investment pledges in 2019.

Another investment promotion agency, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, said that it aims to reach over P100 billion in investment this year, higher than last year’s P95 billion. — Jenina P. Ibañez