Chamber endorses incentive-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Saturday, January 12, 2013
THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) is requesting the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to keep a five percent incentive given to developers of economic zones in Metro Cebu, saying now’s not the time to stop it.
In a letter sent to Peza Director General Lilia de Lima, CCCI president Prudencio Gesta said he hopes the board will reconsider their decision and take time to study the impact of the removal of the incentive.
“Apart from other industries, Metro Cebu’s growing BPO industry alone still needs the incentives, as we have not fully saturated the infrastructure,” Gesta’s letter stated.
The letter was dated Dec. 17.
The CCCI’s board of trustees approved Resolution 175-2012, which stands against the Peza board resolution. The Peza resolution had amended the rules on incentives granted to operators and developers of special economic zones.
In a board meeting last July, the Peza board approved the recommendation of Peza management to amend the Peza policies granting incentives to developers and operators of special economic zones.
They cited the need to “level the playing field” among developers and operators of IT buildings in Manila and Cebu with other areas.
“There is need to have a uniform area coverage eligible for fiscal incentives to developers/operators of special economic zones such as but not limited to manufacturing, agro-industrial and tourism economic zone,” the Peza resolution stated.
It further sought the need to have a uniform set of incentives to developers/operators of IT parks and buildings, including IT facilities providers, regardless of location.
Earlier, Cebu Investment Promotions Center managing director Joel Mari Yu said he does not think it will discourage developers from building more IT buildings, saying the demand is high enough for them to want to continue building and developing.
However, the CCCI still wants the Peza to rethink its decision.
“We strongly suggest that this be given further study and reconsideration, as this will not only affect one sector of the business community, but the whole economy of Metro Cebu,” the letter read.
“We look forward that the Peza board will give preferential attention to this matter in furtherance of our common efforts to enhance public-private partnership.”
In an interview, Gesta explained that majority of the BPO buildings and IT parks are concentrated in Cebu City. It would not be fair to remove the incentive in Metro Cebu because it would mean no incentives for similar structures in the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.
He hopes the board withdraws its earlier decision to allow other areas of Metro Cebu to develop their own BPO market.
Though he is yet to get feedback from Peza, Gesta is optimistic they will pay
attention to it, saying they, too, want to encourage more investments.
“I believe they will consider (our request) because our justification is very clear.
Metro Cebu is not yet flooded with infrastructure for BPO and ICT.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2013.