MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is aiming for a 10 percent increase in investments in the agency’s ecozones this year from a year ago as it seeks to attract more manufacturing and agro-industrial companies to locate in the country.
“We will beat last year’s. We want 10 percent (increase) this year,” PEZA director general Lilia De Lima told reporters in a chance interview yesterday.
Total investments approved by the agency last year reached P276.126 billion, 11.48 percent lower than the P311.949 billion in 2012.
“There were one or two expected big ticket projects which did not file last year,” De Lima said.
She added that the PEZA’s move to amend rules on incentives given to tourism economic zone (TEZ) developers and locator enterprises in Metro Manila, Cebu City, Mactan Island and Boracay may have also been a factor for the decline in investments in 2013.
PEZA Resolution 12-160 issued in November 2012 states that the investment promotion agency would no longer give the five percent gross income tax incentive to new TEZ developers in the four areas.
Under that regulation, the PEZA also said it would not grant income tax holiday and five percent gross income tax incentives to locator enterprises of the TEZs in the four areas.
The rules were amended to encourage development in other areas.
While total investments in PEZA zones were down in 2013, the number of projects to which the funds were committed to went up 16.64 percent to 673 last year from 577 in 2012.
The total number of individuals directly employed in PEZA zones climbed 14.84 percent to 1.048 million in 2013 from 912,047 in the previous year.
Exports from the PEZA’s economic zones also rose 7.12 percent to $42.872 billion last year from $40.023 billion in 2012.
De Lima said the agency would continue to actively promote the country as an investment destination to encourage more firms to set-up operations here.
“We are still targeting manufacturing,” she said noting that such companies are seen to create more employment opportunities here.
“We also want to attract agro-industrial (firms) to create jobs for the class C, D and E,” she added.
The PEZA, an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, extends assistance as well as grants incentives to business operations of investors engaged in export-oriented manufacturing in areas declared as PEZA special economic zones.
Aside from export manufacturing, other activities which could qualify for PEZA registration and perks are information technology service export, tourism, medical tourism, agro-industrial export manufacturing, agro-industrial bio-fuel manufacturing and logistics and warehousing services.