By Elijah Felice Rosales, May 6 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

The government’s shift to renewable energy is starting to pay off in terms of capital inflow, as power projects accounted for nearly two thirds of commitments approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) from January to April.

Investments registered with the BOI in the first four months of the year surged 46.49 percent to P286.7 billion, from P195.7 billion during the same period last year. Power projects made up 64.66 percent of this at P185.4 billion, a growth of 77.75 percent from P104.3 billion.

In a statement over the weekend, Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the investment body approved successive green energy projects in line with the government’s commitment to build infrastructure that are environmentally friendly.

Among others, the BOI authorized Vires Energy Corp. to carry out its P35.2 billion 506 megawatt (MW) natural gas power plant in Batangas. Further, it gave the Philippine Geothermal Production Co. Inc. the green light to do its P1 billion geothermal source in several towns of Albay and Camarines Sur.

“With the government’s commitment to ‘clean and green’ infrastructure systems, successive renewable power projects were approved by the BOI,” Rodolfo said.

He added the proponents had to secure the endorsements of the Departments of Energy and of Environment and Natural Resources before their projects are approved. Tax incentives cannot also be availed if they are unable to comply with the terms and conditions of the BOI.

Investment pledges from local firms grew nearly 14 percent to P219.7 billion, from P192.8 billion, while those from foreign sources jumped to P66.9 billion, from P2.9 billion.

Singapore was the largest offshore investor in the four-month period with P35.4 billion, followed by the Netherlands with P9.1 billion and Thailand with P8.5 billion. Japan (P5.5 billion) and the United States (P2.2 billion) rounded up the list.

Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez claimed the January to April figures are “a display of bullishness” from local and foreign investors on the Philippine economy.

He said the odds of attracting more investments are in favor of the country, as it recently got a credit rating upgrade from a major rating agency. S&P Global Rating last week assigned the BBB+ rating to the Philippines in reflection of its “strong economic growth trajectory.”

“Foreign investors remain confident in the country’s business prospects as foreign capital surged in the country, while domestic investors remain upbeat as domestic capital continued its steady growth,” Lopez said.

By sector, manufacturing investments nearly tripled to P44.6 billion, from P15.9 billion. Commitments in information and communications technology jumped to P33.2 billion, from P340 million, while those in food and hospitality surged 740 percent to P8.4 billion, from P1 billion.

The BOI is targeting to hit P1 trillion in investment pledges this year to follow through its two consecutive years of smashing the record books.

Last year, BOI investment approvals expanded 47.08 percent to P907.2 billion on fourfold increase in commitments in the manufacturing sector. It is the BOI’s all-time high in its 51 year history, beating the P616.8 billion it posted in 2017.

“I join the economic managers in attributing all these very positive economic developments, including the continued surge of BOI investment approvals in priority and strategic sectors, to the steadfast implementation of the 10 point economic agenda of President Duterte,” Lopez said.