28 July 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

TRADE Secretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Ramon M. Lopez announced a 165-percent increase in foreign direct investments (FDI) in the first semester of the year, contributing to the 27-percent increase in overall approved investments for the period.

FDI approved by the agency grew to P14.5 billion from only P5.5 billion in the same period last year. The growth in FDI contributed to the overall increase in BOI approvals as investment projects approved by the agency reached P238.9 billion in the first semester of 2018, up by 27.1 percent compared to the P188 billion recorded in the same period last year.

By country, Indonesia topped all foreign investors with P6.4 billion, followed by Japan with P2.6 billion, and China with P880 million. The United States (P582 million) and Italy (P486 million) came in as fourth and fifth placers, respectively.

“The impressive investment registrations with the BOI is a concrete proof of the continued confidence of both foreign and local investors in the country,” Lopez said.

He said the strategic nature of investments registered with the BOI and the strong confidence of investors is strongly linked to the administration’s policies which are independent and pragmatic, but principled in addressing the critical social problems and bottlenecks to industry competitiveness such as infrastructure and power.

The Philippine economy will continue to grow and create investment opportunities in infrastructure, manufacturing and services. With this growth, we intend to have more inclusive businesses and ensure that economic gains are spread throughout the country,” Lopez added.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the BOI investment figures are a significant lead indicator for the overall growth of FDI.  He cited the FDI figures released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which showed a 40-percent increase in the first quarter of the year.

Rodolfo said the agency is still on track in achieving its target of P680 billion for 2018, a 10-percent improvement from last year’s P617 billion.

“We expect big-ticket projects to come in by the second half of the year. Foreign and domestic investors remain optimistic especially in view of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” and manufacturing resurgence programs,” he said.

Citra Central Expressway Corp. was the biggest project registered in the month of June as it invested P25.7 billion in extending the Skyway that will connect Buendia Avenue all the way to the North Luzon Expressway in Balintawak. Other notable projects include the P1.1-billion theme park of Newscapes Haven Development Inc. in Nabas, Aklan; Hydrocor Corp.’s P990-million renewable-energy project in Ifugao; the P710-million hospital project of Allegiant Regional Care Hospitals Inc. in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; and the P439-million mass housing project of PDB Properties Inc. in Tanauan City, Batangas.

The renewable-energy/power sector remains the top source of investments with P108.2 billion for the first semester, a 168-percent increase from last year’s P40.3 billion in the same frame. The transportation and storage segment is runner-up with P37.4 billion, up 298 percent from P9.4 billion in 2017. Construction/PPP projects (P32.9 billion), manufacturing (P19.8 billion) and real estate (P15 billion) make up the top 5 sectors.

Countryside investments accounted for 76 percent of the total investment figure of P180.7 billion. Central Luzon (Region III) led all regions with P77.6 billion, a 248-percent jump from P22.3 billion in 2017. Calabarzon (Region 4-A) came in second with P58.7 billion. The National Capital Region accounted for 24 percent or P58.3 billion. Davao Region (Region XI) with P14.3 billion and Western Visayas (Region VI) with P4.9 billion rounded out the top five regions.