Ecozone investments seen tripling this year

By Richmond Mercurio

MANILA, Philippines –  The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) expects approved investments this year to at least triple to P654.54 billion due to heightened foreign investor interest in the country, its top official said yesterday.

With bullish investor sentiment, PEZA director general Charito Plaza said investment approvals by the agency may even quadruple to P872.72 billion for 2017 from P218.18 billion last year.

“We’re expecting a 200 percent to 300 percent increase in new investments for the year because for the first quarter alone, it grew already by 51 percent,” she said.

Investment pledges approved by the agency was off to a strong start in 2017, reaching P51.34 billion in the first quarter as compared to P34.11 billion in the same period last year.

“We’re looking at a very bullish year for PEZA, especially with the new economic zones and new industries coming in. We’re also aggressive in inviting all these foreign investors,” Plaza said.

“Those foreign investors that we have an LOI (letter of intent) in the Middle East, US and in Japan, one by one or by group, they are already coming over to look for the economic zones that they like as far as the location is concerned and register their companies with PEZA,” she added.

President Duterte’s Middle East state visit last May yielded $925-million worth of investment commitments.

Aside from investors from the Middle East, Japan and the US, the PEZA official said more investment pledges from foreign sources like China, Russia and Vietnam are also expected to pour into the country in the coming months.

Plaza said PEZA is encouraging all private land owners as well as local government units to develop their own economic zones to cater to this growing number of foreign locators.

PEZA is one of the country’s top investment promotion agencies. It currently administers 386 economic zones across the country, of which four are owned and operated by the agency.

Plaza also said 80 percent of the country’s exports comes from PEZA.

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