MANILA – The Board of Investments (BOI) is expecting investment pledges for 2021 to fall short of its target as the Delta variant of the coronavirus impacted investment flows, not only in the Philippines but globally.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo told reporters Thursday that BOI investment approvals for this year would likely reach PHP600 billion.

This is around 35 percent short of its PHP905-billion target for this year as reflected in the General Appropriations Act, Rodolfo said.

“Because of the global surge in Delta variant, and resulting to global setback and economic recovery because of the Delta variant, then translated in the Philippines to the stricter protocols particularly the lockdowns, we were really hit during second quarter and the early part of third quarter,” he said.

As of last week, the investment promotion agency has approved PHP376 billion worth of projects, which include major infrastructure projects such as the Makati City subway project and telecommunications towers, as well as renewable energy projects, cement manufacturing, and shipping as a service.

Rodolfo added that for the last two months of the year, there are projects in the pipeline worth around PHP225 billion to close 2021 with PHP600 billion investment approvals.

Investments started to return with the reopening of the economy as the country manages to slow down Covid-19 cases, he said.

Rodolfo said the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law has helped in attracting investors to come in, however incentives alone are not enough to lure investors, and economic reopening is needed to get back these investment pledges.

The BOI has investment leads amounting to PHP700 billion, including the PHP225 billion projects in the pipeline expected to be approved in the last two months of the year.

The rest of the leads are expected to come in within the first quarter of 2022, Rodolfo said. (PNA)