November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

BoI ahead of the pace on 2017 investment target

THE Board of Investments (BoI) said it expects registered investments to be worth P290 billion in the seven months to July, or nearly 60% of the agency’s full-year target of P500 billion.

“We still have more projects in the pipeline worth around P18 billion and is expected to be approved before July ends,” Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Trade undersecretary and BoI managing head, told reporters.

From January to mid-July 2017, investments for projects registered with the BoI reached P273 billion, up 30% from the P210 billion recorded for the seven months to July 2016, Mr. Rodolfo said.

“We still have two board meetings,” he said, adding that the P290-billion figure is reachable by month’s end and would represent a growth rate of 38% for the seven months.

He said the recent approval of the P79-billion MRT-7 project of San Miguel Corp. boosted investment registration figures this year.

The project involves the construction of the 23-kilometer elevated railway line with 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT-3’s North Avenue terminal in Quezon City.

It also covers the 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue interchange of the North Luzon Expressway to the intermodal terminal in Tala.

The road component is expected to divert northern provincial bus operations to San Jose Del Monte, decongesting EDSA and dispersing economic activities across the regions, Mr. Rodolfo said.

“[In terms of] job generation, we’re 50% up,” he said, citing a January to mid-July figure of 56,056 new jobs to be created by the registered projects as against last year’s seven-month tally of 37,487.

The new jobs and investments are for 245 projects, up 28% compared with the previous year’s 192. This year’s investment target comes as the BoI celebrates its 50th founding anniversary.

Mr. Rodolfo said the agency’s performance so far this year is “on pace to achieve that mark.” He previously said that the BoI was expecting the country to attract more innovation-led and technology-driven investment projects due to the extension of the incentives offered for the importation of capital equipment, spare parts and accessories by qualified businesses.

Executive Order (EO) No. 22 replaced EO 70, which expired on May 9, 2017. It is effective for five years or until a law amending EO 226 (s. 1987), or the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987, is enacted.

He said the measure also augurs well for the agency’s 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), which he said encourages more innovation-driven and job-generating investment projects.

Under the executive order, which was signed on April 28, qualified business enterprises registered with the BoI are exempt from paying duties when they acquire from other countries capital equipment classified under specific chapters of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.

However, the duty exemption will be granted only after the BoI issues a certificate of authority to the importer. The agency said the privilege strictly applies to equipment not manufactured locally or of insufficient supply domestically. The equipment should also be for the exclusive use of the registered company.

The BoI, which was designated to lay down the implementing rules and regulation of the order, did not immediately respond when asked whether the incentives would benefit all the enterprises enumerated under the agency’s investment priorities plan. -- Victor V. Saulon