PEZA eyes P100B in pledges this year

Shaun H. Ruff

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) seeks to get more than P100 billion in investment pledges this year, slightly higher than last year.

“We don’t want to be promising high figures,” PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. “Instead, we must work hard and build support and partnerships from public and private stakeholders to bring in new investors, keep existing investors and for them to expand, not transfer.”

The agency said it would conduct monthly fora where export investors, industry associations, foreign chambers, investment promotion partners, economic zone developers and operators, local government units, businessmen, professional cooperatives, national agencies, economists and lawmakers can meet to discuss business and investment opportunities in PEZA ecozones.

The investment promotion agency posted P95.03 billion in pledges last year, falling by almost a fifth from a year earlier.

Last year’s pledges fell short of the agency’s target to approve at least P100 billion in investment pledges, which had been lowered from its 5% to 10% growth target set before the global coronavirus pandemic hit.

Foreign investments last year jumped by 21% to P59.73 billion, but local investments plummeted by 48% to P35.3 billion.

The agency traced the decline to various causes including coronavirus lockdowns that started in mid-March.

PEZA approved 326 projects last year, 217 of which came from the manufacturing sector. The sector generated P34.44 billion in investments, 13.43% higher than a year earlier.

More than a hundred projects under the outsourcing sector brought in P17.41 billion in investments, down by less than a percent from from 2019, the agency said.

Most of the foreign investments came from the United States, European countries such as the United Kingdom and Belgium, and Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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