By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

THE Board of Investments (BoI) said it expects the investment approvals for the year to hit P1 trillion before October ends.

“I think … by the end of tomorrow’s board meeting we will be able to reach P1 trillion in total approvals,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said during a panel discussion at the 12th Arangkada Philippines Forum on Wednesday.

The investment promotion agency initially set a target of P1 trillion worth of investment for 2023, which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) revised in the first quarter to P1.5 trillion.

“When we saw a strong influx of investment… in January (and) February, our target was increased to P1.5 trillion or double the actual amount of approvals last year,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

Last year, the BoI approved an estimated P729 billion worth of new investment, up 11% from 2021.

In his keynote speech, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said renewable energy (RE) projects were the single biggest category of approved investment so far, which he estimated at over $17 billion.

“Most of the approved projects are in RE. There was an influx of renewable projects when we announced that we are allowing 100% foreign ownership,” Mr. Pascual told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

In November, the Department of Energy issued a memorandum circular that allowed 100% foreign capital in RE projects.

The DTI said in June that RE projects are expected to account for a third of investment registered with the BoI, which Mr. Pascual upgraded on Wednesday to more than 50%.

Meanwhile, both officials said that they are still optimistic to achieve the P1.5-trillion investment approval target for the year.

“We are still optimistic because we still have less than a quarter. But we have exceeded what was achieved last year,” Mr. Pascual said.

Mr. Rodolfo said earlier this week that the BoI is expecting the entry of investment worth $4 billion from two Chinese manufacturers seeking to supply offshore wind equipment.

The two companies have surveyed potential sites in the Philippines and are planning to arrive at location decisions within the year.

“We still have two months to reach that P1.5 trillion new target, but in terms of the old target I think we are done with that,” said Mr. Rodolfo.

“Realistically, we will probably take in an additional P300 billion in the next two months,” Mr. Rodolfo said. “But very important will be the composition of these investments. These, I think, are mostly in RE and mostly foreign investment.”