The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reported a total of P140.24 billion worth of approved investments for 2018. The number is a drop of 40.97 percent from last year’s P237.57 billion in pledges.
According to agency director Charito Plaza, the decline can be attributed to a lower number of registered projects and an atmosphere of uncertainty for policy changes.
“The drop is for new investments caused by the uncertainties of change of policies,” said Plaza.
According to PEZA, that the number of projects registered with the agency decreased by 4.51 percent in 2018. 554 projects were registered in 2017 and 529 in 2018.
However, Plaza stressed that existing locators are not pulling their investments out of the country.
Plaza also discussed the coming elections, citing the polls as a reason for decreased investments.
“New investments dropped also because of the forthcoming election where the next Congress might change again the policies,” she explained.
However, despite the decline in investment commitments, PEZA continues to create jobs for millions of Filipinos in their registered economic zones.
As of October 2018, the number of jobs within PEZA-registered economic zones grew by 7.33 percent. Employment opportunities in these zones number nearly 1.5 million now, compared to the 1.4 million jobs at end-October 2017.
PEZA locators also recorded increased export revenues in the same period. By October 2018, export earnings were at USD45.28 billion. The same period the year before recorded only USD342.39 billion.
Further, the information technology (IT) sector has seen increased investments. In 2018, IT investment pledges improved by 32.2 percent amounting to P25.56 billion from P15.56 in 2017. OF the projects registered with PEZA last year, 188 were IT.