THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) is eyeing investors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to pour in money and locate their industries in economic zones in the country.
“We aim to have more investors from Saudi Arabia and widen our reach for industries unique only in the country,” Peza Director General Charito Plaza said in a statement.
There are three Peza-registered Saudi Arabian enterprises engaged in information technology services in the country that contribute P18.61 million in investments.
In line with Peza’s Transformation Road Map in spreading the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, Peza said it is actively involving various local government units to transform idle lands in the regions into ecozones.
“The agro-industrial, agroforestry, mineral processing, halal hubs, aqua-marine and renewable energy parks are the most feasible and viable types of economic zones in attracting Saudi Arabian investors,” she said.
“Ecozones will be promoted and expanded to attract foreign and local investors as part of the diversification strategy and strengthening value chain resilience,” she added.
Plaza said Peza has identified Agusan del Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Quezon Province and Tawi-Tawi among all other locations for this move.
“We also hope to get the proclamation of ecozones in Tawi-Tawi for international seaports which are good for refinery and oil companies of interested investors from KSA,” the Peza chief said.
Charmaine Yalong, the commercial attaché to the Philippine Trade and Investment Center–Dubai of the Department of Trade and Industry, believes that the Philippines is still considered an investment entry hub to Saudi Arabian investors.
“Even before the (Covid-19) pandemic, the Philippines was the third fastest growing economy in Asia with low and stable inflation rates of an average of three percent from 2016 to 2020. This strong growth was supported by the resurgence of the manufacturing sector,” she said.
Yalong also pointed out the report from the National Economic and Development Authority, highlighting that “despite the pandemic and its harsh effects, economic growth in the Philippines has accelerated in the second quarter of 2021 to 11.8 percent compared to -16.9 percent during the same period last year.”
The Philippine economy is projected to expand by 5.5 in 2021, 6.5 percent by 2022, and 6.1 percent by 2023. (JOB with PR)