Projects approved by the Board of Investments are expected to hit an all-time high of P792 billion by year-end, surpassing the 2018 target of P680 billion, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Lopez, who is also the chairman of BoI, said a number of investments were expected to be approved this month, bringing the full-year tally past the P617-billion investments recorded in 2017.
“This year, I won’t give you the number, but we will definitely beat the P617-billion investment by a wide margin before the end of the year. This will be another record-breaking year in the 51-year history of BoI,” Lopez said.
Data showed that investment pledges approved by BoI reached P520 billion in the first 10 months of 2018.
BoI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said several more major projects, worth billions of pesos, were set to get approved by the agency in December.
These investments include the China integrated steel project that is expected to add P150 billion to the year’s total investments; an infrastructure project worth P50 billion; a cement project costing P13 billion; and a minerals processing project worth P60 billion.
“It took us more than three months to assess these projects. We deemed these projects as worthy of getting government support in terms of incentives. Approval is imminent before the end of 2018,” Rodolfo said.
The BoI said the manufacturing industry was continuing its breakout story and showed signs of stronger expansion, as the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for October jumped to a 10-month high of 54 from 52 in September.
“We can see the continued confidence on the strong fundamentals of the Philippine economy and all its reforms and infrastructure development programs under the Duterte administration. Investments continue to drive growth, amid robust foreign direct investments, as per the BoI’s latest data,” Lopez said.
The agency said investors were seeing the political will of the current administration to institute reforms such as the Ease of Doing Business law and policies leading to further liberalization of more sectors to allow greater foreign equity.
The country’s demographics are also improving, with a growing middle class in a 106 million Philippine market, who are young and have greater purchasing power.
Investment promotion policy is key to creating more jobs and business opportunities that will spread more prosperity and enable more Filipinos to beat poverty, the BoI said.
It said investments, especially in manufacturing, would be the key elements to build a manufacturing base that would also expand local capacity to export and resolve the perennial structural issue of having a trade deficit.
“We need to work together to attract more investments and address all roadblocks to achieving a competitive industrial structure such as power costs, logistics costs, greater access to major agricultural inputs to many industries like sugar and agriculture supply at competitive prices,” Lopez said.