Massive infrastructure push seen boosting investment pledges by 10% in 2018

In File Photo: The 14.82-kilometer, six-lane Metro Manila Skyway Stage Three is one of the infrastructure projects rolled out under the public-private partnership scheme.

The rollout of big-ticket infrastructure projects would make the Philippines more attractive to investors and increase investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) by at least 10 percent next year, according to Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

On the sidelines of the MVP Group’s Voyager Innovation’s launch of Digihub, Lopez said investment pledges could grow by a “reasonable” 10 percent in 2018. “At least a 10-percent growth is reasonable for next year.”

Aside from the implementation of infrastructure projects, he said the easing of restrictions in economic activities would hike the number of fresh projects approved by the investment-
promotion agency.

“We are undertaking a lot of reforms, starting with the Foreign Investment Negative List and the liberalization of retail and the amendment of the definition of public utilities. The infrastructure buildup will generate a lot of interest in areas outside of Metro Manila,” Lopez said.

On Monday the government announced that investment pledges approved by the BOI this year reached a record P616.7 billion, surpassing the previous all-time high of P570.1 billion posted in 1997. The figure is also 39.5 percent higher than last year’s haul of P442 billion.

Of the P616.7 billion, P268.18 billion will be channeled to energy/power projects.  Infrastructure and public-private partnership projects cornered the second-biggest amount at P127.658 billion.

Lopez sees the share of infrastructure to take up half of the forthcoming investments
next year.

As restrictions on foreign participation will be lifted in key sectors, such as retail trade, Lopez sees the share of investments from foreign sources to expand.

“This year the interest from foreign investors was there but because of the Marawi conflict, they held off for a bit. Some pursued their investments, of course, but we felt the interest could be stronger. Now that the conflict is over, those that had plans before will come in,” he said. “There’ll be a bigger foreign equity inflow next year.”

Image credits: Nonie Reyes


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