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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   03 January 2011

Philippines unveils new investment strategy

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The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to unveil new incentives that reward investments that generate “more value-added” to the economy.

“While investment figures and growth numbers have to be tracked, we have to look for a better measure of the performance of IPAs,” DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo said, referring to investment promotion agencies.

He said the government would focus on attracting “quality” investments rather than merely hitting higher quantitative targets.

Domingo said the IPAs under the DTI—the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)—would pursue projects that can contribute more value-added to the economy.

He said the value-added could be computed using a cost-benefit ratio.

“There is cost for the government because of foregone tax revenues and there are benefits to the economy. When DTI’s IPAs evaluate projects, they should measure the benefit to the country. The incentives given to a project should be more directly correlated to the benefit the investment gives,” Domingo said.

Domingo said the DTI would flesh out this new investment-generation and incentives-giving strategy within this month.

He said the DTI would consult the Department of Finance in crafting the new tack for upcoming investments.

Efren Leaño, BOI executive director, said the implementation of this strategy may begin through the 2011 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

The annual IPP identifies business activities that qualify for tax incentives and other perks from the government.

Leaño said the BOI expects investment commitments this year to reach the same level as last year’s P300 billion.

PEZA had projected approvals this year would grow by a tenth from last year’s P204.395 billion.

Domingo said the bulk of this year’s investments would likely come from local investors in infrastructure, especially with the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative in full swing.

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