THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said ease of doing business considerations are a major factor when locators pick their global manufacturing hubs.

“This is a big deal especially for those who invest (when) they make in their choice of which country they will build their manufacturing export facility in,” PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga said in a statement.

Mr. Panga also called for investment promotion agencies to be given more legal authority to attract investment on their own, and for the restrictions to be loosened on the establishment of new ecozones.

“(Our) immediate objective is to further strengthen the ease of doing business in accordance with the (executive order) 18 directive of the President to provide “green lanes” for investors especially in the production of exports, most of which are located within the ecozones,” he added.

EO 18 called for green lanes to expedite, streamline, and automate government processes in the case of strategic investments.

Meanwhile, Mr. Panga described the amendment of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) law as a top priority.

“(This would) further strengthen financial incentives and the ability of investment promotion agencies such as PEZA to implement policies to attract more foreign investors,” he added.

Earlier, the Departments of Finance and Trade and Industry approved an amendment to the CREATE law, allowing transitory domestic market enterprises availing of the 5% gross income tax scheme to register as VAT taxpayers.

The House Ways and Means Committee had approved the CREATE MORE (CREATE to Maximize Opportunities for Reinvigorating the Economy) bill, which aims to improve the VAT refund system and authorize the President to grant incentive packages without going through the Fiscal Incentives Review Board.

PEZA has set a target of P250 billion in approved investments next year. — Adrian H. Halili