INQUIRER.NET (May 3, 2018)

Investments registered and approved by the Department of Trade and Industry’s incentives-granting bodies surged by more than half to P181.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018 from a year ago.

According to the Bureau of Trade and Industrial Policy Research, the value of projects approved by the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority was 53-percent higher than the P119.3 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Of this year’s first-quarter projects, 83 percent were with the BOI at P152.1 billion while Peza accounted for P30.7 billion.

Data from the bureau also showed that the value of BOI-approved projects went up by 124 percent year-on-year from P68 billion in the first quarter last year.

At the same time, Peza-approved projects dropped in value from P51.6 billion previously.

“New investments (may have gone) down but no existing (businesses) closed or got out (of the country),” Peza Director General Charito Plaza said in a text message.

Plaza attributed the decline to uncertainties created by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law.

She said new investors were afraid to invest in an environment with a perception of unstable laws and policies.

“So, until our government can assure and stabilize our laws and policies, new investors will prefer to invest in other countries with stable and attractive incentives,” Plaza said.

According to the DTI, more than half (57 percent) or P104.4 billion of approved projects in the first quarter were earmarked for businesses related to electricity, gas, steam and airconditioning supply.

The amount was more than 20 times the P4.8 billion approved in the first quarter of 2017.

Investments flowing in from Japan accounted for 57 percent or P7.86 billion.