By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
After a disappointing 16.19 percent decline in investment pledges in 2019, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is targeting a conservative 5-10 percent growth target in investments this year, but said inflows should be higher once a more favorable CITIRA bill is approved and passed into law.
“We’re expecting a 5-10 percent growth this year, but it could be higher if an investor-friendly CITIRA is passed,” said PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza, who divulged that there are still pending applications for expansion projects of existing locators.
PEZA is also set to approve big ticket industrial projects like the Panhua Integrated Steel Co. project and Canada’s North Star Valley Food Company, which is looking for agricultural zones in the country for cacao, avocado, mango, strawberry and raspberry plantation.
“There are also many pending applications for expansions of existing locators and new investments which are waiting for the kind of CITIRA that will be passed. That’s why we’re praying for the wisdom of the Senators and the bicameral committee who will decide of the kind of a CITIRA law,” she stressed.
Plaza also revealed that a 60-man American business mission will visit PEZA next month, February, to explore investments in the country’s agro industrial economic zones.
Data showed PEZA generated only ₱117.541 billion worth of new investments last year, reflecting a worrisome 16.19 percent decline in committed new projects from ₱140.242 billion registered in 2018 due to uncertainties created by the CITIRA bill.