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PEZA approves P8.14-B investments in the first quarter.

MANILA, Philippines — Between January and March of this year, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved PHP8.14 billion in investments.

PEZA investment approvals fell by 67.9% in the first quarter of this year, compared to PHP25.38 billion project registrations at the same time in 2021, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Given the current pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the forthcoming national elections, PEZA director-general Charito Plaza stated the fall in registration of investment activity in economic zones is expected.

“Usually during election season, investors wait to see what the election results are because they expect new policies, regulations, and rules to be implemented by the new administration,” Plaza added.

Apart from the change in administration in June this year, the PEZA director added that investors are wary of investing in the country, particularly in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector, because the government no longer encourages work-from-home (WFH) arrangements in this sector.

Investors have put off registering their enterprises in PEZA since the country has yet to issue the Strategic Investment Key Plan (SIPP), the government’s three-year strategy for priority industries and economic activities eligible for tax advantages.

current situation

With concerns about eliminating fiscal incentives for PEZA-registered companies that choose to maintain the WFH structure, as well as the risk that some sectors will lose tax benefits as a result of the SIPP’s release, PEZA officials urged the current administration to delegate these concerns to the next administration.

“Let’s not rock the boat any further,” Plaza said, adding that PEZA wants to contribute to the country’s development and job creation in the final months of the Duterte government by attracting more investments.

“A new administration will be in place. So we’re hoping that the incoming administration will take action right away,” she said.

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