Armm welcomes Halal investors

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Thursday, September 4, 2014


THE Department of Trade and Industry-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (DTI-Armm) urged businessmen to invest in region's Halal industry to take advantage of the growing demand.

Sakiran A. Hajan, regional secretary of DTI-ARMM, who was a guest speaker during the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference on Tuesday at the KCC Convention and Events Center, said the demand for Halal is not only limited to food industry but also to Halal-accredited services.

Business opportunities on the Halal industry include: establishment of Halal slaughterhouses; Halal feed milling and dressing plants; livestock industry (cattle, chicken and goat); agri-fishery; Halal food services (hotels and restaurants and tourism); and mainstreaming of Halal Subjects in HRM curriculum and Vocational Courses.

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Hajan said the market requirement of Halal food and products keeps growing annually and has a spectacular prospect since not only the Muslims rely on Halal foods, but also people from other ethnic groups who have strong requirement for Halal food.

He said Armm has largely untapped and unspoiled natural resources, which can be effectively harnessed for agriculture and fisheries.

In terms of investing in agriculture, he highlighted Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur as the center of agriculture in the region; Basilan for being the rubber capital of the Philippines; and Sulu as a potential investment area for coffee and exotic fruits like durian and mangosteen.

When it comes to the fisheries sector, Hajan higlighted the strong fisheries sector of the island provinces of Armm - Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (Basulta) -- and its abundant aquatic resources such as seaweeds, tunas, crabs, lobsters, squids, and lapu-lapu.

When it comes livestock and poultry, there is a need for investors who will establish Halal slaughterhouses, feed mills, and dressing plants to ensure that livestock and poultry products are Halal.

Hajan said investors can also invest on services that offer Halal service. In line with this, he said businesses, especially those into education, should consider the inclusion of Halal Subjects in Hotel and Resort Management Curriculum.

He said having trained manpower and labor force in Halal service and having establishments offering Halal service will assure Muslim tourists of quality Halal services thus resulting to increase in tourism and investments.

Finally, he invited businessmen to invest in Armm because of its strategic location in the East Asean sub-region, it is much closer to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

Another reason to invest here is its close cultural affinity with its South Asian neighbors and the Middle East countries. This provides them the understanding as to how to develop and market products in the Muslim market.

Other competitive factors of ARMM include large pool of skilled and highly trainable manpower and labor force; the region's basic utilities are in place and some projects are now almost completed; and has liberal business laws and simplified investment procedures.

Hajan also said they have lined up fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for their investors. Fiscal incentives include: income tax holiday; reduced duty on the importation of capital equipment; exemption from taxes and duties on imported spare parts; exemption from wharfage dues and export tax, duty, impost and fees; tax exemption on breeding stocks and genetic materials; additional deduction from taxable income; and tax credits.
Non-fiscal incentives include Employment of foreign nationals; simplification of customs procedures; importation of consigned equipment; and the privilege to operate a bonded manufacturing warehouse.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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