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News: Favila says RP still best investment site in Asia - 17 Feb 2008
Investments registered with the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority are expected to rise 12 percent annually until 2010 as investors remain confident on the Philippine economy.  

Trade Secretary Peter Favila, one of the government economic managers who attended the economic briefing at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel yesterday, downplayed the impact of controversies hounding the Arroyo administration to the country’s investment prospects.

“In the region, the Philippines would still be seen as best value for investments,” said Favila, adding that government investment approvals would hit P391 billion this year. Exports of goods and services, he said, would reach $84 billion by 2010. He told reporters the export figure could have been far higher if not for the possible fallout of the US economic slowdown.

“We are factoring the possible economic slowdown [brought on by the US sub-prime woes], but if it does not, [the growth] could be better,” said Favila.

The National Statistics Office earlier reported that merchandise exports grew 6.1 percent to $50.276 billion in 2007, the highest on record. The amount was on top of services exports, such as revenues of business process outsourcing sector and international tourism receipts.

The Department of Tourism earlier estimated the contribution of international tourism to the economy at $4.9 billion while the Business Processing Association of the Philippines said BPO revenues hit $5 billion last year.

The investments board and Peza in January approved new projects with combined investments of P7.7 billion, up 53 percent year-on-year.

 Favila said bulk of the new investments went into the semiconductors, domestic shipbuilding, housing and information and communications technology sectors.

“If there is really unabated corruption, investments shouldn’t have gone up,” said Favila.

 

He said in a business forum that the two investment agencies this early had generated investment leads amounting to P281.9 billion, or P109 billion short of the target of P391 billion this year.

 

“Based on previous years’ experience, 81 percent of BoI-approved investments and 87 percent of that of Peza were realized. The challenge is to close the deal on all our investment leads and that all approved investments will materialize,” said Favila.

 

He cited the offshoring and outsourcing sector as among the sectors that would drive economic growth with the industry forecasting $13 billion worth of revenues, P41 billion in investments and a million-strong workforce by 2010. 

Source:  Manila Standard Online, By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos, 17 February 2008

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