INCENTIVES for new ventures that will create jobs and boost business activities in the countryside are among the promises made under the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

Approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, the IPP is a list of priority investment activities that may qualify for incentives.

The new IPP has a broadened coverage to attract new capital in sectors and regions, and address the inequality of growth and employment.

For instance, under the newly approved IPP, the BOI is giving incentives to new IT-BPM projects that locate in other regions where investments are badly needed.

“We wanted these incentives to trickle down to the sectors and to the members of the society who needed it most,” said Fe Del Rosario, officer-in-charge of BOI’s Investment Policy and Planning Service, during the agency’s 2017 IPP Regional Roadshow-Cebu leg yesterday.

Another updated feature of the 2017 IPP is the entitlement to income tax holiday equivalent to 100 percent of training expenses for IT-BPM and shipping industries that help their workers update their skills.

“Our human resource is our natural magnet for investors (to come). The government would like to help industries equip their workforce with the right skills to be at par with the neighboring countries,” said del Rosario.

She added this incentive will help the country solidify its position, particularly in outsourcing, which now faces tougher competition from India. Another target, the shipping industry, is also seeing more advanced technology being used.

A recent Tholons report predicted that more than half of the workforce in IT-BPM in leading outsourcing locations, including the Philippines, may become irrelevant in the next few years unless significant re-skilling is done.

The IT-BPM industry is embarking on a six-year plan that targets nearly $40 billion in revenues and 1.8 million more jobs by 2022. By the end of 2022, the industry is seen producing 1.8 million jobs, of which more than 500,000 will come from outside the National Capital Region.

New priority activities outlined in the IPP are in the fields of manufacturing, including agri-processing; agriculture, fishery and forestry; strategic services; infrastructure and logistics, including those of local government units and public-private partnerships; and health care services, including drug rehabilitation.

Mass housing, inclusive business models, environment and climate change, innovation drivers, energy and export businesses are also included.

Del Rosario said the new IPP also gives incentives to ventures that employ or partner with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), for the sector to become part of the larger production network.

The BOI remains on track toward reaching its P500-billion target. Investment projects registered with the agency already reached P272.7 billion, up by 30 percent from the P210.4 billion recorded in the same period last year. (KOC)