Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda is urging the economic team of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “ramp up efforts for the country to catch up on foreign direct investments (FDIs)” by seizing what he called “low-hanging fruits” in policy reforms to make the country more open to foreign investments.
He made the statement in response to August FDI data showing foreign inflows to have slowed by 19.2 percent year-on-year.
“President (Ferdinand) Marcos is achieving progress in agriculture. This is one of the few times the sector actually recorded positive growth. We need to capitalize on our strong Q3 GDP performance. While the decline in FDI is understandable due to global conditions, there are low-hanging fruits we haven’t picked up yet,” he said.
“The most basic one is the Public Service Act implementing rules and regulations. That would open up telcos and other big sectors to greater foreign investments. I was told last week that it is now for signing. Well, sign it,” he added.
“I would also urge the economic team along with Secretaries Remulla and Lotilla to work out the final draft of amendments to the Renewable Energy Law, to allow full foreign ownership of energy generation. We need major foreign investments in our renewable energy sector,” he further stated.
“A surplus of renewable energy will reduce power rates in the country. And that, in turn, will cure some of the oligopolistic price abuses in the energy market and attract even more foreign investments in various sectors such as manufacturing.”
“With the Department of Justice saying that the RE Law IRR can be amended, the legal impediments to such a move no longer exist,” he also said.
He said he is a ready talking to European investors in renewable energy, including Norway, adding the stakeholders he is in talks would are prepared to invest as much as $10 billion in RE projects in the near-term.
He also urged the release of a more comprehensive list and strategy under the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan, the list of key industries eligible for tax incentives under the CREATE Law.
“Without a more comprehensive list and strategy, it will be like selling the country as an investment destination without a brochure,” he noted.