15 June 2015

SBMA targets 11% hike in investments

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is aiming to achieve an 11-percent growth in new investments at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone this year.

“We have an overall investment target. Last year, we did around P18 billion. We’re targeting around P20 billion this year,” SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia said in a chance interview.

He said the agency wants to attract investments in the tourism, maritime and high-value manufacturing sectors.

SBMA is promoting investments in tourism with meetings, conventions and other special events being held in the area.

Garcia said a total of seven new and expansion hotel projects are currently being undertaken at the freeport.

At present, hotels within the freeport have 3,500 rooms, enough to accommodate attendees of special events like the Ad Summit Pilipinas 2014.

The Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines has chosen the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center again for the venue of the Ad Summit Pilipinas slated to be held from March 9 to 12.

Aside from tourism, the agency is encouraging investments in the maritime and high-value manufacturing sectors which could generate jobs.

Garcia said the Subic Bay Freeport Zone offers advantages to locators in terms of convenience for shipment of products through the port in the area.

“It’s more convenient to ship from Subic because you don’t have to go through Manila. You can ship from Subic to anywhere. That’s the advantage. Plus, it’s cheaper,” he said, noting six international shipping lines currently use the port.

To encourage locators, he said SBMA has allotted P800 million for capital expenditures this year for improvement works at the freeport.

The amount will be spent for the rehabilitation of major roads as well as renovation of the facilities at the freeport.

“This is unprecedented. In the past years, our capex is just at P20 million,” Garcia said. (Louella D. Desideerio, The Philippine Star)