Home » Customs & Trade » PEZA: Double-digit growth in investments by year-end

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is positive in attaining double-digit investment growth by yearend, as evidenced by investments registered during the first ten months of the year.

From January to October, investments grew 7.83% to P22.298 billion from P20.679 billion in the same period last year. “We are hoping this is a strong indication of positive growth by the end of the year,” PEZA Investments and Promotions Department manager Elmer H. San Pascual told PortCalls.

According to him, PEZA is hoping to recover lost ground after 9/11. “The contraction in Philippine investments started in 2001, then it stretched out to 2002 where investments wend down by as much as 50% as more investors became mindful on where to throw their investments because of problems on security,” San Pascual said.

The present year, meanwhile, began with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak then segued to the US-Iraq conflict by middle of the second quarter. Also, there was the Oakwood mutiny on July 27.

San Pascual said PEZA is certain investments in November and December would surpass or even double those posted in the first half of the year. “These figures, we hope, could make up for what little we did in the last two years,” he said.

The positive flow of investments during the latter part of the year, San Pascual noted, was also hoisted by significant growth in the information and technology sector. The sector contributed P3.393 billion during the first ten months, up 258% from P948.096 million during the same period last year. “This is because a lot of call centers have started to come in,” said San Pascual. “When you started getting the big players, competitors are sure to follow. Even the small ones,” he noted.

To date, Japan remains the country’s biggest investor in the manufacturing sector and electronics/semiconductors industries followed by local investors and the US. San Pascual noted PEZA forecasts are greatly affected by targets set by the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines which earlier announced growth in the export of electronic products by next year.

He said PEZA has been negotiating with big companies since the beginning of 2003, but admitted these firms are still observing the country’s political affairs. “They have no questions on our economic policies… everything is well structured as they say. Yet, it is politics that continuously intervenes on these big companies’ decision. Things are not so clear yet. They might probably be able to decide after the elections,” he said.

Also, PEZA has to deal with downgrades by some credit ratings and travel advisories which drive away potential investors, he said.

While the agency is optimistic about yearend investment results, San Pascual clarified this does not automatically translate to a full turnaround. “It may even take two more years to go back to the same growth rate we had some years ago, which was at 20-22%,” he said.

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