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PEZA approves P8.14-B investments in Q1

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Philippine Economic Zone Authority director general Charito Plaza (file photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has approved a total of PHP8.14 billion in investments from January to March this year.

Comparing the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), investment approvals of PEZA in the first quarter this year plummeted by 67.9 percent from PHP25.38 billion project registrations in the same period in 2021.

In a press conference Thursday, PEZA director general Charito Plaza said the decline in registration of investment activities in economic zones is anticipated given the ongoing pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the upcoming national elections.

“Usually during the election period, the investors would wait for what is going to be the result of the election because they already anticipated that there will surely be new policies and laws and rules that will be adopted by the new administration,” Plaza said.

Aside from the change in administration in June this year, the PEZA chief added that investors are cautious in their investment decisions here, especially firms in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector, as the government no longer encourage the work-from-home (WFH) set-up for this industry.

She added that since the country has yet to issue the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), the government’s three-year blueprint for priority industries and economic activities that can be granted fiscal incentives, investors put on hold their decisions to register their businesses in PEZA.

Status quo

With the issues on eliminating fiscal incentives of PEZA-registered companies that will opt to maintain the WFH set-up as well as the risks of some sectors to lose their tax perks with the release of the SIPP, PEZA officials urged the current administration to let the next leadership to handle these issues.

“Let’s not rock the boat further,” Plaza said, adding that PEZA wants to further contribute to the country’s development and job creation through attracting more investments within the last months of the Duterte administration.

“We will have a new administration. So we hope that the new administration will address this immediately,” she added. (PNA)