MANILA – Investment approvals in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) have continued to recover with pledges between January and November 2023 surging by 147 percent to PHP140.88 billion, from PH57.05 billion in the same period in 2022.
The investment pledges in the first 11 months of the year have already surpassed the full-year approvals of PEZA in the previous year.
PEZA Director General Tereso Panga said during the PEZA 28th Investors’ Night in Pasay City Wednesday that since the start of the Marcos administration in 2022, the investment promotion agency (IPA) has reversed its negative growth in investment approvals despite the domestic and global economic challenges.
“The road to progress has not been easy for any developing economy. We have our policy challenges, the global Covid pandemic. We saw four years of decline in investments,” he said.
In 2018, PEZA approvals stood at PHP140.2 billion, which further declined in the succeeding years to PHP117.54 billion in 2019, PHP95.03 billion in 2020 and PHP69.30 billion in 2021.
It was last year that PEZA reversed the declining trend as it posted a 103-percent growth in 2022 with total investments amounting to PHP140.7 billion.
Being an export zone, outbound trade of locators in PEZA ecozones rose 57.59 percent to USD54.54 billion in January to September 2023 from USD31.41 billion in the same period last year.
As of end-September 2023, direct employment in PEZA ecozones across the country has reached over 1.78 million.
“Likewise, PEZA accounted for the biggest share in the total foreign investment commitments for the last two consecutive quarters this year among all IPAs in the country,” Panga said.
Among the top foreign sources of investments in PEZA are Japan, sharing 27.34 percent of the total approved projects; United States, sharing 14.82 percent; the Netherlands, 11.68 percent; United Kingdom, 6.84 percent; Singapore, 4.09 percent; and South Korea, 3.3 percent.
PEZA’s performance this year has further increased the IPA’s contribution to the economy for the past 28 years.
From 1995 to 2023, PEZA investment approvals have reached more than PHP4.3 trillion, export revenues hitting the USD1 billion mark, 1.8 million direct jobs, 422 ecozones and 4,352 companies locating inside PEZA ecozones.
“We firmly believe that ecozones acts as shields to soften the landing of headwinds of the global disruptions while at the same time serve as drivers of economic recovery and growth,” the PEZA chief said.
“Since day one, we upheld our culture of absolute honesty, integrity, and utmost service in dealing with our investors,” Panga said, adding that investors prefer registering with PEZA because of its one-stop shop service and 24/7 service and “no red tape, only red carpet treatment” to its investors. (PNA)