The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday said it is targeting P1.25 trillion in approved investments for this year, or an almost 25-percent increase compared to the P1.02 trillion registered in 2020.
DTI Secretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Ramon Lopez said the P1.25 trillion-target for 2021 represents the amount the government targetted before the coronavirus pandemic 2019 (Covid-2019) hit the country in March last year.
“We are working hard for a V-shaped Philippine economic recovery in 2021 and are hence targeting the original 2020 pre-pandemic goal for investments,” said Lopez.
Following 2019’s record approval of P1.14 trillion, BOI originally set a P1.25-trillion target for 2020 that was recalibrated to P1 trillion due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Towards the end of 2020, the BOI was able to achieve the P1-trillion target with the endorsement of the Department of Energy (DOE) of two strategic power projects and the approval of a critical water supply and distribution project which is especially crucial in ensuring water security and contributing to flood-control.
Hence, approved investments for for 2020 reached P1.02 trillion, which while is 11-percent lower than the 2019 actual approvals, is still the second highest in BOI’s 53-year history.
“We thank the business community for, despite the pandemic, continuing to invest in mid-to-long-term strategic projects that will significantly contribute towards a more modern and efficient, industrial Philippines,” Lopez said.
Moreover, he projected that “Moving forward to 2021, we expect that investments in these types of projects will intensify particularly in infrastructure (road, ports and telecoms), water and power.”
The Philippines is one of the countries to buck a severe contraction of global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, which declined by 42 percent. In contrast, based on a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI inflows to the Philippines increased by 29 percent.
On the other hand, Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo highlighted the role of investment facilitation to meet the BOI’s target, particularly due to the effects of the pandemic. He stressed, “BOI—working with other government agencies—is committed to extending support so existing businesses stay afloat and operating; and guiding new investors to facilitate their entry.”
He cited the Power sector as an example: Following enactment by Congress of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS Act), the Department of Energy (DOE) leads a whole-of-government approach in streamlining the processing of power projects with the creation and establishment of an online platform where prospective developers can apply, monitor, and receive all the needed permits and applications, submit all documentary requirements, and even pay for fees.