SBMA cites sustained robust economic growth last year

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Despite a nationwide drop in foreign investment pledges last year, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) maintained a steady economic growth in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and even performed strongly in key financial operations like income generation and job creation in 2017.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency recorded more than P91 million in net income last year, which was 34 percent more than the P68 million it made in 2016.

Other than this, Eisma said the SBMA posted a total revenue of P3.08 billion in 2017, compared to the P2.95 billion it recorded in 2016, an increase of 4 percent; and logged P1.55 billion in operating income, an increase of 8 percent over the P1.44 billion in 2016.

At the same time, the SBMA’s cash and investments grew by 4 percent to P4.43 billion, compared to P4.24 billion in 2016, while its total debt went down by 5 percent from P6.55 billion in 2016 to P6.2 billion last year.

“These are indicators of robust financial health,” Eisma said during the State of the Freeport Address she delivered last Tuesday before the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber
of Commerce.

“If this is not success, then I don’t know what is,” she added.

Subic’s robust performance last year came amid an overall 51-percent decline in foreign investment pledges among the country’s investment promotion agencies, which include the SBMA, the Board of Investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the Clark Development Corp., the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, BOI-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said the seven investment agencies only approved a total of P105.6 billion in new investments last year, compared to P219 billion in 2016.

Eisma said the SBMA managed to soften the effects of the investment downturn by signing in 239 new investors last year, compared to just 144 in 2016. Thus, while committed investments in Subic went down to P2.54 billion in 2017 from P6.35 billion in 2016, projected employment still grew to 3,488 from 3,868 in 2016, or a slight dip of less than 10 percent.

Eisma also pointed out that existing business locators in Subic put up 63 expansion projects last year, compared to 37 in 2016, thus generating an additional P1.09 billion in committed investments.

Overall, Eisma said the SBMA earned a total of P3.08 billion in revenues from seven sources: leases, which yielded P1.52 billion; port services, P961 million; regulatory fees, P338 million; common-use service area fees, P103 million; tourism, P16 million; environmental and tourism admission fee, P10, million; and other revenue sources, P126 million.

She said the Subic agency was just as successful in its major thrust of job creation, as it facilitated the entry of 15,500 workers into Subic’s active workforce last year, thus, increasing the manpower count here by 14 percent, or from 112,600 workers in 2016 to 128,100 in 2017.

Eisma also said with the increasing number of ship calls in Subic, the SBMA recorded a total port revenue of P1.2 billion, which was 6 percent higher than the P1.13 billion recorded in 2016.

The Port of Subic also reported $2.3 billion in total export-trade value and $1.7 billion in import- trade value last year, an increase of 38 percent and 11 percent, respectively, over 2016 figures.

With these positive financial inputs, Eisma said the SBMA contributed a total of P19.6 billion to the national economy in 2017, an amount that was 14 percent higher than the total contributions in 2016.

These included P16.8 billion in cash collections by the Bureau of Customs, which increased by 11 percent over the 2016 figures; P2.2 billion in taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an increase of 0.8 percent; P92 billion in dividends, or a whopping increase of 533 percent; and P0.3 billion in shares to local government units, or an 18-percent increase.



Henry Empeño

Henry E. Empeño took up A.B. Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, but plunged headlong into actual newspaper work without graduating from college.

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