The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has approved tax incentives worth P29.4 billion for a mass housing project and two cement manufacturing plants outside Metro Manila, according to the Department of Finance (DoF).
The agency said in a statement on Tuesday that the FIRB approved during its third meeting last August 2 the tax incentives for a mass housing project in Iloilo province with an estimated project cost of P1.4 billion; a proposed cement plant in Porac, Pampanga, with an estimated project cost of P3.1 billion; and another cement plant in Calatagan, Batangas, with an estimated project cost of P24.9 billion.
The FIRB also gave the Iloilo housing project a four-year income tax holiday (ITH), as well as tariff exemptions on capital equipment and raw materials imports.
The proposed cement manufacturing factory in Pampanga was given a two-year ITH, five years of enhanced deductions, and duty-free importation exemptions, while the one in Batangas was given a six-year ITH, five years of enhanced deductions, and duty-free importation exemptions.
The DoF said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua stressed the importance of incorporating modern technologies in cement manufacturing to cut costs and boost local production’s competitiveness, when the Board approved the two projects.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, for his part, said the grant of tax incentives to the Iloilo project encourages the private sector to assist the government in filling the gap in affordable or low-cost housing for Filipinos.
Estimates from the Board of Investments (BOI) showed the proposed cement manufacturing plant in Pampanga province will save the country P866 million in annual import costs by helping to meet the infrastructure sector’s cement needs by producing the material locally using new cost-effective technologies, Finance Assistant Secretary and FIRB Secretariat Head Juvy Danofrata added.
In the meantime, Ceferino Rodolfo, Trade undersecretary and BOI managing head, said the two-phase project proposed in Batangas, on the other hand, would incur higher project expenses because it would begin with the manufacturing of clinkers, the most expensive aspect of cement production.
BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA