MANILA - The Board of Investments (BOI) has reported an all-time high P616.7 billion in investment approvals this year, the highest in the agency's 50-year history.
This total amount for 426 projects is 39.5 percent higher than the P442 billion investment approvals in 2016, and 23.5 percent over the projected P500 billion earlier this year, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Monday.
He said the BOI's previous highest approved investment level was in 1997, when the Philippines recorded P570.1 billion in investment approvals.
This was mainly from investments due to the privatization and deregulation of public utilities, particularly in water supply and telecommunications, under the then-administration of President Fidel Ramos.
"This validates business confidence in President Rodrigo Duterte's economic programs to ensure inclusive growth and shared prosperity for the country," Lopez, also chairman of the BOI, said.
"The momentum of our 6.9 percent GDP growth in the third quarter and 6.7 percent overall growth for the first nine months have definitely carried over in the fourth quarter, investment-wise, and further boosted with the frenzied economic activity given the holiday season," he added.
Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said the surge in investments for the year was due to the designation of focused strategic sectors under the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP), infrastructure, power projects, and the strong growth of domestic demand.
Investments in the manufacturing sector, the third top performing sector for the year, increased to P96 billion from P49.259 billion in 2016.
Meanwhile, power and energy projects remain as the top performing sectors with P268.168 billion in approved investments, followed by infrastructure and Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects with P127.658 billion, the BOI said.
The top sources of foreign investment projects for 2017 are Japan with P8.864 billion, Singapore with P3.497 billion, Australia with P1.996 billion, British Virgin Islands with P1.084 billion, and The Netherlands with P1.074 billion.