05 August 2014

IPAs to set unified investments goal and strengthen referral system

The government’s investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are expected to come up with a unified investment target as they collaborate to further strengthen a referral system to promote each other in their various investment campaigns, including the huge agricultural potential for Bangsamoro provinces.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. told reporters that heads of the various IPAs met recently in Zamboanga City and agreed to jointly promote the country as an investment destination with a single message “Invest Philippines”.

With that, Manalo said the IPAs should have a common investment target noting that the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority are the ones accounting for the bulk of investments generation.

At present, each IPAs have individual targets which are later on combined but Manalo, as head of the DTI investment promotion group, said the IPAs, can adopt a unified target where there is a specific target for foreign direct investments and total projects approved.

The IPAs are led by the government’s premier investment premier investment promotion agency Board of Investments (BOI). Other IPAs include the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Zamboanga Special Economic Zone, Aurora Special Economic Zone, Philippine Retirement Authority, Phividec Industrial Estate, BOI-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the Bases Conversion Development Authority.

In 2010, the IPAs had set an investments growth target of 10 percent in 2010 and 15 percent for 2011 to 2012 and 20 percent by 2013 to 2014. Investments generated by the government’s IPAs in 2009 reached P315.28 billion from P473.25 billion in 2008.

The setting of an investments target could help the IPAs measure their performance in light of the good reviews the country has been getting from the international business community.

“We should be running on all four cylinders,” Manalo stressed.

To push for an aggressive investment promotion campaigns, Manalo also urged the iPA members to work together by providing referrals for each other noting that not every IPA can accommodate all the specific needs of investors. There are small IPAs that can host small manufacturing operations.

“I encourage them to work together that even if they have specific mandate they can refer each other for projects that are suitable in another area,” Manalo said.

He cited the case of the recent P9 billion investment of Panhua Group Co. Ltd. in Subic Bay. The Chinese firm plans to build a pre-paint could and metal sheets factory for export and domestic markets.

The Panhua investment was actually an effort of the BOI, which was referred to the more appropriate Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority because Subic can appropriately serve the requirements of this manufacturing firm.

Manalo also cited the Authority of the Freeport Authority of Bataan, which has already an established players of garments and leather goods making it easier in terms of materials sourcing.

In the case of the Bangsamoro, Manalo was positive that once the law is passed, there will be more investments inflow particularly in agriculture in this region

“I am very hopeful, Mindanao is very rich in agriculture and agri processing,” he said.

It is rich in fisheries, rubber, seaweed manufacturing, tuna and sardines processing.

“Once the Bangsamoro is completed with a plebiscite, I am very hopeful for Zamboanga,” he added.

The incentives to be granted by IPAs to investors will depend on the list of economic activities listed under the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), an annual list of priority projects that are entitled to government incentives.

Manalo further said the 2014 IPP has identified sectors that need reinvestments the most. (Bernie Magkilat, Manila Bulletin)